Runaway Problems Are Pointers To Solutions


Runaway consumerism and pollution, and the human causes of climate change are problems that we humans seem inadequate to face and deal with. We have this huge engine that we have made out of multiple pieces, and we don’t know how to apply the brakes.

Here’s a thought though – What if we stop seeing these as problems and instead see them as roads pointing to a solution even if the road is unclear?

The day I read that gross domestic product doesn’t mean how much we have produced, but how much we have spent on what we have produced I realised that the only meaningful engine in the economy is the consumer.

If we want to change society in the face of the climate crisis, we really have to stop consuming. We have to cut it by a huge amount, because if we don’t – well we know where that road leads.

But if we suddenly stop consuming overnight, the centripetal force would fling gobs and swathes of people off into space. It would be catastrophic.

Catastrophic of course for the companies that produce things, but also for everybody who would get caught up in it.

It would hit the people who would no longer have jobs. It would hit people who would no longer have access to all kinds of things – I mean you name it and it would cause problems if they didn’t exist. Take something simple like water. How would people access it if nobody was making taps anymore or pipes anymore.

So we can’t just stop consuming and say that that’s the solution.

But in the long term and even in the shorter term it has to be the solution and that is why we should all thank the climate crisis because it’s pointing exactly towards that.

And it’s pointing as exactly towards that at the same time is that we human beings with our desires and needs are getting slightly sick of this ever expanding drive and push to consume more. We are growing out of consumerism and you can tell that is the case because people are pushing faster and faster for more and more distractions, and none of them are hitting the spot for very long.

So we are on a path that is narrowing from one direction and another, and we should be grateful because it’s pointing the way.