People say: “You need economic growth if you want to save the planet. You need wealth to be able to invest into green energy and new farming technologies and electric cars and insulation and so forth.”
This doesn’t stack up: wealth and green behaviour don’t correlate. Looking after nature and other species is not about being rich; it’s about things like common sense, restraint, humanity, decency, intelligence, education and culture.
And you get rich people who do good stuff for the environment: For example Douglas Tompkins, the founder of Esprit who devotes his life to saving wilderness. Or, say, vegetarian and environmentalist Daryl Hannah?
Similarly, there are less wealthy people who take care of their environment and others who trash it.
At the individual level, wealth and greenness don’t necessarily correlate.
You might say: “Oh it’s different at the macro-level.” Well the macro is just a sum of micros. Each individual has a choice whether they want to be like a Koch brother or like Douglas Tompkins, a Rinehart or Hannah.
Do you want to be like her?
It is not a question of wealth but a question of what goes on in the mind. The argument about whether we need or don’t need economic growth to protect the environment is a red herring. The real question is what kind of people do we want to be. More grounds for the study of belief economics.