3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back

While some of try to find ways to reduce our impact by changing lightbulbs, choosing better cars or using cloth bags, there are others of us on this planet who appear to be on a mission to single-handedly use up all the resources we’re trying to save via ridiculous consumption.
I had previously mused to some collegues about the potential impact of a single resident of my community, who owns this gigantic house, complete with Llamas and Emus. I had asked if it makes any sense for 100 people to conserve resources when one individual can so easily use up those resources himself. I certainly was not prepared for this news story, about the righest man in India, who is building himself a 60-story single-family house!
While the world has a long history of conspicuous consumption by the wealthy, the accumulation of massive amounts of wealth which is possible today gives a few individuals the ability to make impacts equals to thousands of private citizens, or even equal to one small corporation.
While the negative impacts of private jets, gigantic private yachts, massive houses and gated communities may be huge, are they offset by the equally huge impacts of wealthy citizens who are doing the right thing, and using their money to make a positive difference?
I wonder what, if anything, can de done about this. I do not personally believe that wealthy people are bad or evil. I would certainly like to be one myself. But I wonder if our instinct to accumulate and use resources as quickly as possible will win out over our intellectual battle to save our species for the long haul.
Steve Puma is currently pursuing an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management while also working as an IT consultant in San Francisco. Steve’s interests include green building, New Urbanism, renewable energy and thinking about the big picture.
He is also a big supporter of the FairTax Act of 2007, which abolishes the IRS and replaces it with a national retail sales tax.

Steve Puma is a sustainable business consultant and writer.Steve holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School and a BA in Computer Science from Rutgers University. You can learn more about Steve by reading his blog, or following his tweets.

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