Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Cultivating Long-Term Perspective for the Sustenance of Human Civilization

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Larry Plesent

Human civilization, despite its remarkable achievements, faces a crucial question: Can we sustain our existence for the next thousand years and beyond? To secure our future, we must undergo a profound shift in perspective—one that transcends the present and embraces the long-term wellbeing of humanity and our planet. Let’s together contemplate the changes in perspective required for the enduring survival of human civilization.

From Short-Term Gains to Sustainable Prosperity

One of the fundamental shifts in perspective involves moving away from a short-term, profit-driven mindset to one focused on sustainable prosperity. In our current model, immediate gains often take precedence over long-term environmental and social health. To endure for millennia, we must prioritize practices that preserve the Earth’s resources and promote equitable, long-term well-being for humans and for the ecosystem that sustains us.

From Nationalism to Global Cooperation

A shift from nationalism to global cooperation is essential for the continuity of human civilization. Our economically and culturally interconnected world demands that we view ourselves not solely as citizens of individual nations but as members of a global community. This perspective allows us to address shared challenges such as climate change, pandemics, and resource management.

From Consumerism to Sustainable Living

Consumerism, with its emphasis on relentless consumption and materialism, is incompatible with the goal of a long-lasting civilization. Shifting our perspective from material accumulation to sustainable living involves embracing minimalism, resource conservation, and conscious consumption. It’s about recognizing that true wealth lies not in possessions but in our active participation in the health and harmony of our planet and communities. It’s time to recognize that the hippies got it right.

From Short-Term Politics to Long-Term Vision

Political cycles often prioritize short-term gains, leaving long-term issues unresolved. A shift away from corporate based politics and toward political systems that encourage visionary thinking and collaborative problem-solving can pave the way for the continuity of civilization. Policies should consider their impact on future generations by investing in education, healthcare, and infrastructure with the foresight of centuries, not just electoral cycles.

From Exclusivity to Inclusivity

To sustain human civilization, we must shift from exclusive to inclusive perspectives. This means ensuring that the benefits of progress are accessible to all, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status. Inclusivity fosters social stability and empowers diverse voices and talents, essential for addressing complex, long-term challenges. We must honor and embrace our diverse cultural heritages and differences rather than demeaning, diminishing, and whitewashing them.

From Resource Exploitation to Conservation

Our current approach to resource exploitation is clearly unsustainable. A shift toward worldwide resource conservation and ecological regeneration is imperative. This perspective involves responsible management of natural resources combined with reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and circular economies. It’s about recognizing that the Earth’s resources are finite, and their preservation is key to our survival and the survival of the innumerable species who share our little blue ball in space.

From Isolation to Interconnectedness

An enduring civilization requires a shift from isolation to interconnectedness. Acknowledging our interdependence and cultivating a sense of global citizenship can inspire collective action and shared responsibility for the long-term welfare of life on this planet.

The changes required are profound, but they are not beyond our reach. Together, we can transition from a civilization driven by short-term thinking to one that cherishes the legacy we leave for future generations. It’s a journey that beckons us to think beyond the confines of our time, and to envision and manifest a more compassionate human civilization capable of thriving for millennia to come.

Larry Plesent is the founder of Vermont Soap and is a writer and natural products formulator residing in the green hills of Vermont. Read more from Larry’s work at

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