We are at a historic tipping point in our history in regards to consumerism and climate change. For the last two centuries, we have sought convenience and speed over all else, often leaving incalculable damage to our homes and communities that future generations will be forced to rectify. We consume water faster than can be replenished from underground aquifers; we burn hydrocarbons as global supplies dwindle and global temperatures rise; we raise animals in factories and pump them full of drugs to optimize price over flavor or customs; and we eat antiquated diets that inefficiently use the plants and animals we cultivate. Then when we have finished consuming something, we permanently dispose of it rather than try and reuse its components.
But no longer. The youth of today are leading a global transformation to make our economies more sustainable and our consumption more conscientious. This is broadly captured by the environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) movement, which seeks to pair responsibility with corporate and government investing. Of these three key pillars, the one which individual consumers can influence the most is the first: environmental. There are dozens of lifestyle choices, cultural routines, and other habits that must be altered if we are to protect our planet’s future. In addition, there are key social changes we can assist with that will symbiotically make the environment stronger. Ironically, many viable solutions are deeply rooted in the lifestyles of our elders and ancestors. The Industrial Revolution has made us arrogant in our recent dominion over nature. However, we should not
think that we are entirely regressing either: greater global connectivity has made us far more compassionate
and empathetic than our forebears, especially in regards to inclusivity and work-life balance.