The gaps between the developed and un- or less developed areas of our planet, between the centre and periphery are dramatically increasing, due to climate change. Whereas rich countries, because of their subsistence strategies and the prevailing lifestyle are the main culprits, they are also, thanks to their material resources, best-placed to provide protection against the incipient consequences of climate change.
This fatal development calls for inhabitants of the developed industrial nations to make effective changes to their lifestyle and way of life, sustainable life and economic activity and a new way of thinking. Efficiency, sufficiency and consistency are, therefore, inseparably linked with one another:
- Efficiency means a clear reduction in the consumption of resources;
- Sufficiency means moderation and satisfaction in terms of demands on the social environment and creation;
- Consistency refers to the goal of increasing a solar economy and creating a sustainable circular flow economy.
Only a sustainable lifestyle that is working towards this will create a counterbalance of a sustainable economy, social justice and ecological renewal. A sustainable lifestyle gives equal weight to the principles of individuality, solidarity, fairness and sustainability, therefore, giving precedence to the eradication of hunger and poverty.
A sustainable life is inseparable from an individual way of life, and is, therefore connected to lifestyle. It means reducing the consumption of natural resources by both individuals and the community, e.g. by reducing one’s personal “CO² footprint”, i.e. how one acts in terms of travel, energy consumption and diet. A sustainable lifestyle will ensure that there is a “natural balance” to one’s life and a symbiotic connection with the way we relate to our Earth in ecological terms. The individual ecological, social and economic needs will, therefore, be pursued in such a way as to avoid adversely affecting the future prospects of generations to come. A sustainable lifestyle means satisfying needs only to such an extent that subsequent generations can enjoy an intact and sustainable ecological, social and economic system.
Increased wellbeing and better quality of life are achieved through a sustainable lifestyle, based on self-limitation and moderation (sufficiency). A successful life must be based firmly on human-social values. A high degree of satisfaction with and quality of life are characterised by structures such as social equality, job security, social collaboration and ensuring political participation and collaboration. This, too, is affluence. An environmentally-friendly lifestyle lived on a human dimension expresses itself in social networks. Relations with family and neighbours, associations, unions, volunteer networks, exchange rings, cooperatives, registry offices, as well as trade union workshops and micro-businesses are arenas where new lifestyles and ways of life can be discussed and action taken.
Changing one’s lifestyle and way of living makes a significant contribution to civilisation change, which is characterised by responsibility towards the entire biosphere and the right to life and development of all people and future generations.