Five Ways Our Culture Doesn’t Look at Issues in Terms of the Long Run

The Rev. Dr. Michael A. Schuler serves as the Parish Minister of the First Unitarian Society of Madison. During his 17-year tenure, the Society has grown rapidly to over 1300 adult members and approximately 200 active affiliates; 450 children are registered for Church School and youth activities. In his book, he discusses how and why our culture is obsessed with material gain and instant gratification and how this will do a tremendous amount of damage to our planet and our communities. here are five places where our culture seems so focused on the quick returns that it doesn't take into account the long-term damage:

1. Encouraging the rapid depletion of the planet's natural capital by externalizing those costs, thus keeping the price of commodities artificially low.

2. Allowing poorly-conceived "cookie-cutter" development proposals to undercut efforts to preserve and protect the most unique an livable qualities of our towns and cities.

3. Failing to consistently emphasize the personal and social benefits provided by enduring personal friendships and partnerships.

4. Seducing individuals and institutions into "get rich quick" schemes rather than promote a sustainable and ultimately more prudent approach to financial planning.

5. Successfully creating a near-universal craving for nutritionally deficient and environmentally toxic fast- and convenience foods.

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