Sustainable… life style, economy, environment

No doubt, you’ve seen and heard the word ‘sustainable’ used a lot of late.

Environmentally we want to ‘leave things the way we found them,’ use renewable resources, see the rain forest AND the trees, etc. Economically we want to consider our impact on these resources. Businesses are trying to add to both their social image as well as their bottom line by considering business decisions in the light of sustainability.

From a more personal perspective, individuals and families strive to generate less waste and conserve water and power. Many try to buy less, making ‘downsizing’ another buzzword.

I understand sustainability from a resource use. But I have a question that causes me a great deal of angst.

If we all get really good at practicing ‘sustainability’ in our use of resources, if we all downsize and buy less, moving away from ‘consumer is king,’ what will our country look like in the near future? In other words, where will jobs come from when we quit buying more and more ‘stuff.’ If we truly ate healthily, what happens to the jobs created by fast food, pre-packaged food, huge restaurant choices, etc.

I am all for ‘sustainability.’ I just have trouble picturing everyday life looking at it through the lens of ‘sustainability.’

Sometimes I picture a Stepford Wives lifestyle. Kind of a glorified suburbia where everyone is doing their best to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle.’ Will luxury items be something that becomes ‘black market?’ Or will it be seen as a poor socially conscious choice similar to wearing real furs and being harassed by PETA members?

Other times I see us as a national hippie commune. What’s mine is yours – and yours is mine. Well, except that never worked in the communes. But that’s a different post for another time.

Help me out here. Can we be socially conscious and still have ‘jobs?’ Will there be motivation to grow and improve? Will there still be wealth, and even more importantly, a desire to acquire wealth? Will there be a working class of primarily technical, professional, medical, scientific positions and the hundreds of thousands of service and low-end jobs be…. what? If we’re not super-consumers, what happens to those employers. Will the haves and haves not be a result of the type of job you do… even more divisive than it is now?

Am I the only one who has trouble with envisioning a sustainable America?

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