Just before the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, then U.S. president George H.W. Bush famously declared: “The American way of life is not up for negotiations. Period.”
The world was then, and still is, being destroyed by over-consumption. Unfortunately Bush, like most Americans, saw the issue through the narrow focus of American hubris. In reality, then, as now, the over-consumption of needless crap is the root cause of global environmental degradation but it isn't a uniquely American phenomenon. i live in Canada, we have roughly the same demographic distribution of bourgeois materialists as does the US. So to does most parts of northern Europe.
In other countries the relative class distribution numbers are different, but in every country there are some who are very rich, some who are very poor and some in the middle. Regardless, it doesn't matter to the biosphere, we all are interconnected, so where the insults caused by over consumption originate is meaningless. Bush's statement was probably based on ignorant myopic nationalism, but consciously or unconsciously it served to steer the question away from the much more important issues of materialism, the limits of growth, class consciousness and, most importantly, that unless humans to want-less, learn to live with the planet's limits, there is no other possible outcome than collapse.
What form will the bleak future the non-negotiable lifestyle we're handing our descendants take? Whether the limits to the naked ape's cancerous, over-consumption cause economic collapse before or after environmental collapse is irrelevant. Whether war, starvation, un-breathable air or uncontrollable disease that wipes out humans and other living things is equally irrelevant.
refuse to comply, we must escape the consumer culture become revolutionaries by choosing to live simply.
Any solution, or compromise that's acceptable to either the hypnotized consumers or the privileged who see themselves as entitled to their position is meaningless. Bush nailed it: “The American way of life is not open for negotiation". It was to late to negotiate then, it's far to late now.