The word ‘embarrassment’ is key here.
Sometimes I imagine the natural world going ‘ahhh, guys, you’re like, totally plundering all the natural resources and cool shit I spent millennia developing – haven’t you had enough yet??’
And then we go, ‘oh yeah, no, actually, fair point, but no, we want to just get one of those massive silver refrigerators that has a built-in sparkling water tap in the door. Or maybe the Volvo with the butt warming seat package. That’s what we need next, that might do the trick, and we might stop after that’
Then the natural world rolls her eyes and decides to wake up again after the end of civilisation.
In the old days it was the properly rich cats who got to sit around tables with horns spewing grapes and pumpkins and pigs heads stuffed with raisins, and have actual toilets and the ability to extend daylight hours by using precious fuel to create light after the sun went down.
Now, unless we are genuinely poor and without access to the basic means of living – we are richer than our ancestors could have possibly imagined. Even 100 years ago, no one could have conceived of the vast, elaborate, mainstream luxuries that are taken for granted every single day by millions of people in developed countries. Cheap flights, ultra convenience, food delivered to the front door, cheap fashion, instant free content.
And it’s starting to get embarrassing.
At shared social meals when I was a kid, my dad would say ‘Show a bit of class Clarks’ as a way of reminding us not to charge in like idiots and stuff our faces before everyone had had a chance to get a look in at the food.
He had a good point. Applying restraint shows you’re not a child flailing around in the toy shop. Understatement can be attractive. Not getting one in every colour. Not upgrading. Not buying the 4WD when you never go off-road. Not name dropping. Not being a dick about it.
If we slow down for no other reason (and there are lots of reasons) – it should be because we already have so much.