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There is a drumbeat of support for the idea that we can and should all live simpler lives. I actually try to do that, at least a bit. And when we sit back and think about it, from a material standpoint, we really do not need very much in order to live a comfortable and meaningful life.

If we take that to be true, and true for many people, then why is there really much of a concern at all for the future of the planet. I hate to have to admit it, but the future of the planet itself is not really at risk from almost anything humans can do to it. Running out of resources, spoiling oceans, warming land and water masses, extincting huge numbers of species – while I don’t wish to see any of it, really won’t systematically alter our ability to provide ourselves with enough basic material goods to satisfy the simplistic life we are being told to live. So, to me the entire discussion about why we ought to preserve the planet, at least when coming from the anti-materialist perspective, seems to simply be a decision about whether we choose to live simply now, or are mostly forced to live simply in the future.

But if living simply is the goal, then I don’t see how our planetary future much matters – humans can and would survive, even if just in meager simple ways, under a huge range of imaginable planetary conditions.

Now of course none of this implies that conservation is not important. That argument would be, well, too simple.

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