That will be particularly tough, it is hard to take something away from people once they have had it. Though if forced, I would have to say education is the key. Very simply there is a finite amount of resources therefore the more each of us take the less there is for everyone else to work with. If people could understand and keep that principle in their lives we’d be better off. A part of this problem that is uniquely American though is our love of stuff and capitalism which makes us want way more than we need and is unfortunately tied into our culture and ingrained within most of us.
I think education will be very important to transition from the overconsuming mentality to a sustainability mentality. Another important factor will be economics. As long as it is still cheaper to live a life of consumption, there will be people who will not budge from their current lifestyles. This is where education will come in. Living a more sustainable lifestyle does not mean people will have a lower standard of living. When this becomes more apparent to more people, the overconsumption model will be broken.
Education and an understanding that material items do not bring happiness can be used to stop some of the over consumption. Hopefully the more people know about the environmental impacts of purchasing a large about of goods, the less they will want to do so. For some people items are bought because they believe it will bring them happiness or fulfill some other desire. Material items are just materials, they are always “newer” and “better” products being produced, the real goal is being happy with what you have, especially when so many people have very little.
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