This is a thought experiment inspired by the fact that the international quarantine efforts have also had the effect of reducing our environmental impact at least for as long as the lockdown lasts.
By “essential” I mean activities or things that humans need to survive and function on a basic level, so healthcare, basic nutritionally sufficient food, water, education, things like that. Those would be the only things you’re allowed to do or have in this situation. So no movies or TV shows, gaming, toys, luxury items or “status symbols”, decorations, Lemmy, etc. Basically no more entertainment or luxury. Things that already exist can still be used, but not if they require constant energy input (like non-essential websites or gaming consoles), and when they break, they much be disposed of in the least environmentally impactful way possible, but the main point is that we would no longer spend resources on making any more of them. Humanity would basically become as frugal as possible. This wouldn’t be returning to when humanity had no technology (that would actually increase our environmental impact and also cause needless suffering), but simply using and developing technology only in ways that aid our survival, nothing else.
By eliminating the things we don’t absolutely need, our environmental footprint would go way down, which would obviously be beneficial for the Earth and reduce the probability that humanity destroys itself by destroying the world we live in. Life would be dull in this scenario, and we’d basically be saying good bye to the modern entertainment saturated lifestyle enjoyed by many people, possibly forever. But in exchange we’d be giving us as a species the best shot at not going extinct from our own actions by reducing our actions to only those we can’t live without. It would also have the secondary effect of allowing us to focus our resources on things we actually need.
If hypothetically you could, would you choose to live in a world like this? What do you think of it?
By the way I didn’t use terms like climate crisis or carbon footprint because the climate, though a massive problem, isn’t the only one.