There’s an aesthetic that we can cultivate that makes this much easier to accomplish (“this” being a gross oversimplification of quite a bit of work). What’s more fun: going to a mall to sift through all the shiny new designs; or going to a garage sale or Craig’s List or Goodwill or the Salvation Army or other second-hand shops, and finding a treasure hidden among the detritus?
I was floored that I found the computer I currently use at home on Craig’s List for US$45. It’s not a screamer, but I don’t need it to be. I run an OS and use programs that aren’t bloated. I have some other gear I’ve scrounged from work, meaning they don’t go into landfills and I’m not buying new stuff.
Still, I guess that’s only part of the solution. Switching heroin for nicotine is an improvement, but you’re still addicted and still harming your body. Honestly, I’m very tempted to think that the species should have practiced, and should be practicing, population control. As our population grew, we scaled our means of production, of food and the necessities of life. The scaling seems to have come with a redefinition of “necessity,” and this might be attributable to the dynamics of scaling. Consider: newspapers have to have news to sell issues to generate operating capital, and so during slow news times, they must find, exaggerate, and/or create news. It’s sort of like a metabolism that needs to be fed. The machinery needed to provide for hundreds of millions of citizens has to run constantly to achieve efficiency, so during lulls of demand, demand must be created.
Now, this is a little hypocritical; I have a pretty large family, so maybe I could’ve practiced population control locally. But five of my six kids are “recycled” from other relationships, so maybe it’s not as hypocritical as it might seem.