The implementation of sustainable living will become more and more imperative as our society continues to move into the future. This is apparent as our resources deplete; we destroy swathes of native forests to plant rows of uniform palm oil trees, we destroy the habitat of native species to farm with pesticides and farming practices that wreck the soil, and single use plastics line our oceans. How can we turn back the clock on our harmful environmental practices? The key to sustainable living can be derived from two concepts: the letting go of consumption under capitalism and a deep emphasis on community living and self government.
First, the capitalist ideology spares no room for focus on the environment as its only aim is to put money in the pockets of private business. This does not encourage green practices, as they are not as profitable as the exploitation of our planet might be. Even if a person living under capitalism desperately wishes to save the Earth and use sustainable practices, the crushing weight of a capitalist society still falls upon their shoulders. Perhaps their own practices are sustainable, but the practices of the international corporation they work for to put food on the table may not be. This is where the idea of community living intersects with that of the amendment or even complete abolition of capitalism as an economic system for the greater good of the environment. Healthy relationships between members of a community are not encouraged by capitalism. Long hours and the commodification of being alone has isolated individuals living under capitalism. As our technology evolves alongside us, isolation only becomes greater as we cease to rely on real human interaction and instead move to screens as a source of information and stimulation. Breaking the chains of isolation, becoming involved with grassroots movements and communal spaces, is direct action against those who divide us and force capitalist conformity. Power comes from numbers; a community’s voice can be heard.
If not anything else, I leave you with this. Grow your own basil. Go to the park. Drop off some art at a neighbor’s house. Become intimately involved with the people you meet. Our future lies in community gardens and in hand painted signs at protests. You are the change you want to see in the world, so go out and be great.
(“Tree” by @Doug88888 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)