Reading “How Much is Enough” was an eye-opening experience. The author of the article seems to be saying if America, and other similar developed countries, were to adopt a philosophy of consuming less, their citizens would feel more fulfilled and would be on a more sustainable path.
I have heard in the past that some of the things Americans do are unsustainable, such as our overuse of plastics and the excessive burning of fossil fuels. The biggest surprise to me was all the things that indirectly contribute to these problems. Our desire for convenience, in terms of products, services, and travel seem to be the biggest driver for our unsustainability.
For example, we want to have the produce we want right when we want it, even if it is out of season, or only grows on the other side of the planet. We demand to have our own space and privacy, whether it be in suburban developments or driving alone in our cars. As mentioned in the article this yearning for convenience ironically leads to many inconveniences. We end up eating food that is not as healthy, we add packaging and chemicals to preserve products, and we spend more time traveling.
Transitioning out of a consumer society would lead people to have a better overall sense of well-being. The benefits would range from better physical health to better senses of self-worth. Adopting the ideology of “less is more” is something that the people of the developed world could adopt and that they, and the rest of the world, would benefit from. As a matter of fact, one of the main points that this article brings to light is that the “world middle class” is already living sustainably. The main thing that would need to change would be that the wealthiest countries and the poorest countries would need to adopt the habits of this “middle class”.
A few of the obstacles would likely be education about the issue, resistance from existing government policy, and a mindset change. The biggest hurdle will be to get people comfortable with the idea of changing their mindset. Without the change, however, future generations will eventually not be able to continue the consumerist lifestyle anyways. As a matter of fact, if a mindset change is not made, sustainability of life in general, may cease to continue.
**The article that this essay is based on is: How_much_is_enough**