Living sustainably is a little bit like going on a diet.

Because all that self deprivation is calculated to result in a better outcome than if no proactive action had been taken.

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Photo by I yunmai on Unsplash

Diets have been receiving a bad rap lately, and granted a diet mentality is not the most positive mindset to cling to, however, eating less of the bad stuff in a world of processed, nutrient deficient, calorie rich food products is actually a positive step toward managing your own weight.

To flip this perspective, it’s not that we need to eat less, it’s that we need to eat a normal, appropriate amount and the Capitalist driven systems which stock supermarket shelves need to stop making crap to sell to us to eat more of in a perpetual cycle of addiction and lack of control.

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Photo by Ola Mishchenko on Unsplash

The real problem here is not you or me, it is the motivation underpinning industrial activity, which is: to earn money. If they can earn money off of our own butts they will. You better believe it (and actually over consumption makes our butts bigger and our wallets slimmer).

In this sense then, adopting a sustainable lifestyle of less activity is just the same as adopting an eating pattern of less processed food.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

To restate: eating naturally grown, locally sourced, nutrient dense foods is very similar to living a localised lifestyle, riding or walking to your places of work, play and pleasure, adopting natural exercise that is not conducted in airconditioned rooms and eschewing the assumed entitlements that have come to define the lives of well-off Westerners (here’s a list: fossil fueled aircon, heating, travel (including air – which is one of the most destructive forms of travel), food from afar, packaged food, food processed in factories – many steps from its original form, clothes from afar produced in sweatshops, plastic in all its forms – fabric, boxes, thread, duvets, shelves, shoes, cups, toys, toys, toys, bags, instruments, disposable plates, paint and so on and on).

The sustainable ‘diet’ recognises the problem as being one of the systems that the modern world is founded on, it sees the future earth as one which is expanding beyond a place that is healthy (picture a growing belly pushing over its belt buckle), and the only and most sensible course of action is one of denial: self denial.

This goes against everything that the modern mindset has programmed in the modern person. The programming has happened through commercials, advertising, marketing and the competitiveness encouraged by a market-driven society. The modern person is told to seek their own pleasure, their own benefit, their own well-being without looking at how their individual actions affect the world at large, their communities and the lives of those who are yet to come on this earth.

Astute individuals will realise that if all of us continued to live in this way then we will soon eat up and pollute and poison our planet, our only home, leaving absolutely nothing for anyone else both now and into the future.

Climate change optimists like to hope that technology will deliver us out of this, but deliver us out of what? Out of a mindset that is clearly poisonous? No, they hope that technology will allow us to cling onto this toxic, self-first, way of life, giving us leave to continue living callously, disregarding our planet and other persons, as we seek our own benefit above all in an extension of capitalist thinking.

Such people are lazy. They are like the fat people*(see note) unwilling to get up off the couch or stop eating fries.

So, there is no other option. Collectively humanity has to ‘lose some weight’, some industrial weight, some weighty privilege, some inefficient and ineffective modes of living that are actually leaving people sadder and more disconnected than ever, more unhealthy and prone to addiction than ever and wasting the world as fast as has never been anticipated.

It’s a problem needing fixing and the only way to fix it is to change a global mindset individual by individual.

 

* “Fatism” is a term that denotes discrimination toward fat people. I recognise and am so sympathetic to those struggling (or who’ve given up trying) to lose weight. Obesity is on the rise in epidemic proportions. It is often something that is not truly the ‘fault’ of the person suffering from the condition, it is actually a symptom of our society and it reveals that the way our society is set up is actually not good for people. The food we are fed, the activities we are confined to, the options that are presented to us as good ways to live our lives are actually severely lacking in true goodness. It is not the fat person who should be disparaged, instead it is the capitalist, post-industrial system, which we all live to serve, that should come under serious criticism.

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