Friday, June 5, 2015

The Not-so-Near Future

Masha Limpahan

As we get older we are often asked about our plans for the future. “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is a question that is asked of us at many different stages of our life. The growing problem is that we have developed a short-sightedness about the future and often forget that our actions will still have an effect hundreds, even thousands, of years after we are gone.

This is not to say that people don’t worry about the world that we are leaving behind. I have heard many speak of the responsibilities we hold to the next generations, however, the next generation or two are still the very near future. In order to truly consider the effect that our wastefulness will have we need to zoom out even further than our children or grandchildren's lives because, chances are, the planet will not be covered in waste and resources will not be completely depleted in their lifetime. With projects such as the 10,000 Year Clock and The Rosetta Project, The Long Now Foundation is one organization that is promoting long-term thinking in creative ways. The kind of thinking that can remind both consumers and producers how much our practices can effect the future.

We’ve seen advertisers use psychology to get us to buy more, in order for us to move away from over consumption and the practices that support it, we have to make changes that are deliberate and they must happen on a massive scale. We have been talking about the importance of sustainability for years, it has even been shown that investing in sustainability can be profitable, and small changes have been made, but they are not enough. We must become more responsible consumers, we must hold companies accountable for damaging practices, and we must create policy that supports and enables sustainable practices and stops the destruction of developing countries and their people for profit. We must go beyond small steps in order to make real change.

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