Since it is technology which is seen to have brought us comforts, but also be the culprit when it comes to climate change and other challenges we are and will be facing, it seems to be technology that needs to be changed.
So, if it is the ways we produce power that are not green enough, we need to use different sources of power and get to higher efficiency.
If it is agriculture for which entire landscapes are plowed under, we need better technology to produce more for the growing world population on less land.
If it is the production of the tools and toys we so desire that is consuming resources and polluting the environment, we look for green(er) production.
Even the greenest or most happiness-oriented consciousness wouldn’t help when awareness and concern become expressed in products rather than in practices – and products that were made in problematic ways, at that. In donating money that was made from destructive activities to conservation, the “awareness” is even involved in the very problem it supposedly seeks to act against.
So, the focus on technology appears better still.
Only because technology is becoming more efficient and effective, however, there need not be any saving(s) – financial or ecological.
As long as consumption remains the same or is even increased because more can be done with the same amount of money (or energy, or resources), total impacts still rise. Better technology does not necessarily make for better lives, whether ecological or in terms of happiness, either.
What matters is the ecology of material and energy as well as ideas and actions, and the real impact in the world that our lives therefore have.
In the search for really better lives, then, behavior is the pivotal issue – how we actually live.
The “green consciousness” and “eco-awareness” we need is one that puts its conclusions into practice and really leads us to consume less, of both materials and energy, possessions and experiences bought at great cost.
The “ecological” products that are going to help are not added on to “normal” consumption as indulgences, but really produced in ways that fit in.
Ways of living, and ways of making a living, that seek to fit themselves into the world’s working thus gain all the more power.
In starting from the fundamental framework of planetary – and local – boundaries, such ways of living can better integratate into this our world and the immediate environments within which they take place, taking on the challenge to creativity that such limits present.
In not overconsuming, and better still in working towards restoration and reconciliation, they can even be a positive influence supporting the ecological functioning and biodiversity of their locales and the world.
And, in building on the foundation of our needs and wants, the understanding of the things that make happy, they can be richer while consuming less, getting to and supporting the higher creativity, potential, skills, and freedom it takes to do without or with what’s already there.
By bringing both together in better ways of (making a) living, we can finally go beyond the – all too much – activism that is not even willing to follow through on its own insights, the – equally all too much – personal development trying to adapt better to a crazy world or step outside the prison of the 9-to-5 job in ways that utterly depend on the easy affluence it has been creating, the commonplace rat race that promises ever-bigger and delivers ever-worse, and instead move towards truly richer, better lives.
The technology we really need for that: understanding, observation, and creative use within sensible limits, of the ecology of our life and happiness as part of this world. The techniques of better – for us, and (in) the world – ways of living and making a living.