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The world is changing. Whether our lives get better or worse depends on the choices we make. With good choices our lives will improve.

By focusing less on nonessential material goods, we can focus more on things that really matter: our families and communities, our health, our creative capacities, and the beauty of a healing natural world. Rather than glorifying the accumulation of wealth and power, we can provide for everyone’s needs and learn to cooperate better with each other, in order to save our world for ourselves, our children, and our fellow living beings.

By eating less meat, we will reduce heart disease and produce more food to feed everyone. In return for giving up sprawl and gasoline-powered vehicles, we will gain improved public transit, safer bike routes, cleaner air and water, and space for recreation, wildlife habitat, and growing food. Our personal health will improve in a cleaner environment. Our collective health will improve as we reduce inequality and rediscover unity and empathy working together to restore the vitality of our world.

Scientist and environmental activist David Suzuki spells it out: “There are some things in the world we can't change -- gravity, entropy, the speed of light, and our biological nature that requires clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy and biodiversity for our health and well- being. Protecting the biosphere should be our highest priority or else we sicken and die. Other things, like capitalism, free enterprise, the economy, currency, the market, are not forces of nature, we invented them. They are not immutable and we can change them. It makes no sense to elevate economics above the biosphere.”

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If we don't change voluntarily, change will be forced on us as ecosystems collapse, and the changes will be much harder to bear. Even the Pentagon says the climate crisis poses immediate risks to our national security.

Wouldn't it be better to choose to change rather than be forced to change?

-- Barbara Lawrence, Charleston

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