“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”
Most people have probably had this said to them by a parent, friend or mentor; however this is often easier said than done. Growing up my dad would say occasionally say this to me. Then it was easy to act on as it usually pertained to not eating as many cookies or candy bars as I possibly could before an adult intervened. Now as an adult, I find the concept to be more difficult.
The majority of those living in the industrialized world now lives with the unique privilege of excesses in some area of life whether that be in food, money, houses, cars, other possessions, or even free time. Through the previous centuries and millennia, only a handful of the elite had the ‘problem’ of such excesses. Today, a significant amount of the population must grapple with the question: What is enough?
Talking with young and middle aged people planning for retirement, everyone has a minimum amount, no one has a maximum. Many people work tirelessly for more houses (of which they can only live in one at a time), more cars (of which they can only drive at one time), more club memberships (of which they can only enjoy one at a time), more collections (most of which will sit in a closet or garage), and more free time (most of which will need to be filled with hobbies). It is these excesses that will need to be suppressed for the global good as the environment.
When, not out of economic necessity, but moral responsibility we are willing to stop at what we need instead of consuming all we can out greed, then we may have a chance at a sustainable earth.
In the words of Gandhi:
“The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”