As ecological developers seek to increase sustainability and make our planet more self sufficient, the inevitable question arises: Why bother? This is an excellent question because it facilitates a movement of epic proportions. If every human on earth sought to, in some way, improve the planet’s sustainability and their consumer products’ biodegradability and fuel efficiency, then the landscape of the world would look vastly different than it looks today. Therefore, the question, “Why bother?” must be addressed. What motivates humans to take new and innovative action on the behalf of the greater good?
First, how do you measure happiness or satisfaction?
For decades, happiness has been researched as a serious field of study. This is illustrated in The Psychology of Happiness by Michael Argyle. He has 35 pages of research citation alone, indicating that this field not only should be considered a relevant area of research, but is already thought so by many field experts. After all, if humans are unable to measure our own happiness and contentment, then how do we know what to strive for and what constitutes a job well done? In fact, we may not even be able to function as a species without internal mechanisms for measuring our own happiness next to some constant.
Argyle finds that basic human needs and the lack thereof create a greater difference in measurement than anything else. For example, in prosperous nations, individuals are not noticeably affected by added wealth. However, in countries where wealth satisfies basic human needs, then the acquisition of wealth becomes something that is very closely tied to happiness, for it fulfills basic survival requirements.
Second, how do you combine ecology with the human need to change?
When attempting to stir a citizenry into action on behalf of our planet, it is important to remember what information they already possess. Many people do not believe that their individual actions make hardly any difference to the sustainability movement and many others believe that eco friendly causes are not necessary or do not make a noticeable impact on our environment. Unfortunately, this apathy is largely due to a desire to remove oneself from political leanings, which is invariably tied to all mass movements and government reform. Therefore, it becomes important to show individuals that this is not just a political movement, but a cause which creates a healthier, safer planet for humans to live, as well as continuing eco systems and sustainability for future generations.
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