For several years, happiness has been viewed as a soft topic with varied meanings and viewpoints. There are numerous inherited perspectives and clichés about happiness. Be grateful for everything that you possess; spend time with friends and family; take good care of the mind and body; help others are among the several clichés of how to be happy that makes pretty good advice (Robbins 127). However, Bill McKibben’s view on happiness provides a wide view: his ‘happiness is…’article focuses on the relationship between personal satisfaction, happiness, environment, economy and the society. He explores how the environment is significant to our economics, the societies’ shift on well being and the understanding of the relationship between the numerous human activities, quality of life, the environment and the notion of being happy (McKibbens 2011).
The world seems to be preoccupied with the business of getting richer and having ‘more’ as a way to feel better and happy (Robbins 129). However, based on the different concerns about globalization, global warming, and CO2 emission among others, ‘more’ is not necessary the way forward. We may become extensively richer but not significantly happier. However, embracing environmentalism can bring more joy and societal happiness.
For the past century, the basic drive of happiness in the global societies has been a move towards bigger global economies and towards more and big stuff for every individual in the society (Robbins 128).
The world’s judgment about every issue is based on the question, ‘will this expand the economy?’ Uninterestingly, in case the answer is a yes, then anything in the question is embraced-suburban sprawls, globalization, industrialization, and factory framing among others. It has worked: most of the economies in the world are enormous; people are living large in bigger houses. While the notion that more is better has existed in numerous cultures for years, McKibben points out that consumption can actually have detrimental effects on the well being of the society and is among the chief forces behind the harmful impacts on the planet (McKibben 2011) . The world is deeply entangled in the consumption culture that combating it seems to be a greater challenge.
In the Lie Unlimited Expansion Tom Robbins also asserts that nature has limits on growth, physical size of different species, populations, and capitalism among other things on the planet (Robbins 129). He states tat the modern societies seem to confuse between endless consumption with never-ending progress. According to him, the global communities have built a beautiful commercial economic ‘bonfire but instead of basking in its warmth, they are obsessed with expanding and making it hotter and bigger, to an extent that if the flames fail to leap higher, they are worried and dissatisfied (Robbins 130).
Basically, the today’s unrestrained economies have in deed improved the societies’ welfare, but at a vey incredible costs. The cost is being felt by every individual in the planet. Therefore, regardless of personal beliefs, religion or political affiliation, everybody will still live in the same planet; thus, it is in the best of every individual to change (Robbins 129). Therefore, it is important for every society to embrace a deeper environmentalism sense. This may be challenging, but McKibben asserts that ‘for this to happen, people need to change and view one another differently- desires and identity will have to be shifted’ (McKibben 2011). As such, the developed societies need to reduce their non ending luxuries, such as driving large cars and living in huge houses whenever they desire.
However, such a step may be very challenging since the question that still remains unanswered is: can the global societies do that? Can people truly cut down their luxuries? McKibben observes that since World War II living standards of American have tripled. However, the number of Americans considering themselves to be happy has stagnated (McKibben 2011). This is an indication that luxuries do not make an individual or the society to be happy. The luxuries are not the sources of inalienable right for happiness.
Psychologists points out that most people who are deemed to be happy also seem happy to their families and friends, have healthier lives, are focused, and so on forth. This is a pointer to every individual to reverse to centuries of reductionism. Therefore, instead of boasting about the luxuries that one has acquired, one should be concerned about the welfare of his or her neighbors (Robbins 130). After that, the society will be in apposition to realize whether ‘more’ is better. If more is better then environmentalism may be considered a lost cause. On the other hand, if ‘more’ is not, then the society is left with numerous possibilities.
Therefore, the idea of being an environment conscious is not an excessively radical idea. Provided that the globe chooses to live with the same level of happiness, and cut their respective effects on the planet, then it is very reasonable. Conceivably, with this approach the global society is capable of enhancing happiness since numerous environmental ideas hold significant approaches to community development (McKibben 2011). Community gardens, for instance, form part of the legitimate source of happiness.
In conclusion, happiness in today’s societies, though it may sometimes be elusive, is not a mystery- but there is hope in embracing environmentalism. Although economic growth is very significant, the level of happiness does not rise with wealth. Therefore, developing the local community, international community and being deeply environmental conscious contributes to happiness.