To Live a one Earth lifestyle

The GOAL of Greenstar! is to promote one Earth lifestyles. A lifestyle that does not use more of our planet's natural gifts of energy and materials than can be regenerated each year qualifies as a 1 Earth lifestyle. It is both fair and equitable to all who call this planet home.

At present the average Canadian lives a 5 Earth lifestyle. This means that if all 7 billion of us in the human family lived like the average Canadian we would need 5 living planets — 5 Earths.

We also know that there is only 1 Earth and that a living planet may be the rarest thing in the entire universe. Having even 2 Earths is simply not an option. Yet as of 2011 due to multiple Earth lifestyles in primarily North America, Europe, Japan, New Zealand and Australia all major natural systems on Earth are in decline. These 'larger than life' lifestyles are driving other species to extinction, warming our oceans and atmosphere, poisoning our air and water, destroying our precious agricultural soils and filling the world with garbage. The web of life or Nature which acts as our life support system is under siege. And we are the attackers.


So how is it possible to live a 5 earth lifestyle when there is only one earth? Two things allow this to happen. First, we Canadians, like many other high consumption nations, use way more of Nature's goods and services each year than can regenerate. In other words, we 'mine' Nature. For a long time Nature's reserves were vast and seemingly inexhaustible but we have been 'mining' Nature since 1978 and those days of plenty are gone. With each year Nature's reserves are further depleted and its capacity to heal and restore itself is diminished.

The second reason some of us can live multiple Earth lifestyles is that most people around the world do not. If the truth were known we would see that many of our fellow members in the human family live lives way less than a 1 earth lifestyle — well below their fair 'one earth' share. Due in part to their low consumption rates and the relative health of our own local natural systems, we live with the illusion of 'abundance' and the perception that a multi earth lifestyle is sustainable and that the one and only living planet can support this. No way on both counts.

A one earth lifestyle has to be the goal if we are serious about having a future on this most amazing home planet. Yes it is ambitious — actually it is exceedingly ambitious. But the indicators are all there that work towards a one earth lifestyle needs to begin immediately. Many in North America have already started. They have found that their efforts have been met with lives that are showing increased contentment, satisfaction and happiness. They have less things but more time. They are doing less, better.

Greenstar! is an initiative that provides people the tools to move towards a one Earth lifestyle. It is a process that takes time, patience and perseverance. There is risk as it requires that we let go of the familiar and change our habits — for the better. There will be occasions when it will push us to the edge of our comfort zone and the deep learning that occurs there. It is a journey into the meaning of 'more' and what that word means in the 21st century.