the globally wealthy can consume less by substituting meaningĀ for consumption

the globally wealthy consume less by substituting consumption for meaning

another part of the conversation i had last night with two friends, annemarie and louise (which also spawned this post) was about my strategy for social change (but also climate change and everything else).

right now, it’s pretty obvious to me that overconsumption and consumerism in the wets contribute an inordinate amount of environmental destruction. americans consume so much. and not only is waste generated in the production of the things we want massive, but then we tend to dispose of the things themselves at alarming rates. honestly, i think it’s because people have a core set of needs, including needs to love and be loved, but consumerism has tricked us into thinking that those needs can be met by consuming. however, after we’ve done the consuming (and earn the corporations their profits), we find that the need isn’t met. and yet, instead of changing tactics, we dive deeper into our consumption. which is crazy. and yet we still do it.

so my theory, which isn’t unique or probably even mine, is that we actually need to focus more concretely on meaning as a way to reduce consumption.

i can think of so many friends who have salaries of over $100k (some even over $200k) who live unhappy and/or unfulfilled lives. if those people could just get off the consumption drug (fueled by their exorbitant incomes), not only could they make more space for meaning (and also meaningful work), but they would free up resources for people who are actually under-consuming (i.e. the poor).