For those of living in the global north–especially the United States–it’s no secret that we consume way more than we need. Moreover, much of this comes at the expense of others around the world.
A good way of exploring this idea is to take an “Ecological Footprint” quiz which will tell you roughly how many Earths would be needed if everyone in the world lived your lifestyle. For example, I live a pretty Spartan lifestyle–I don’t consume animal products, I try to grow as much of my own food as I can, I try to seriously limit my energy usage–yet if everyone in the world lived how I did, 1.86 worlds would be needed:
While that looks good by comparison with the averages for folks living in the United States, it’s still nowhere near being within the biological capacity of the Earth. Moreover, it’s another reminder that while I can take a lot of individual actions such as riding a bike or turning down my hot water heater–those actions can only go so far when we have an economic system that is based on the destruction of the Earth.