On Consumption and Development

I believe that there are two parallel movements that should happen simultaneously: one is reducing consumption and the other is cradle to cradle. At first glance, these two movements seem to be opposing because one denounces consumption while the other does not. Given how consumption is designed today, this observation is correct. However, they do not have to be opposing in the future.

If our society can truly be cradle to cradle, then consumption would be ok because everything would be in closed loop cycles, but until that day has arrived, consumption will continue to be bad and therefore should be reduced.

Another thing that I want to make clear is that I am not against development. I am only against how it is designed today in a specific context. This is a little different from a common negative attitude towards development that many environmentalists have. Many of them are against it in general and believe that primitivism is the ideal. I disagree with this notion. I do not think that primitivism is the answer because it is against people trying to extend their lives. Under primitivism, modern medicine and technology would not exist and as a result, people would die much earlier. Unless we think that using our intelligence to ward off death is not ok, primitivism is not the answer.

However, there is a way to be against development and not be a primitivist - which is the stance I believe environmentalist should take - and that is to be against luxuries. We must keep in mind that there is a difference between what is development in first world countries and development in third world countries. Development in the United States means Iphones and BMW's, while development for Africa means vaccines and safe drinking water. Therefore, I think it is a just stance to be against development when it is in the former case.

In summary, I believe the best stance on consumption and development is to be against luxuries until they become cradle to cradle.