Sustaining Ourselves

How Can We Best Meet the Needs of Today and Tomorrow?

It seems clear that the America inhabited by our grandchildren will look different from the America of today. We need to address what aspects of our current lifestyle are important enough to keep and pass down, and what we could choose to do without. It is time to ask: How can we best meet our needs today without hampering our ability to meet those needs tomorrow?

This issue guide presents three possible options for deliberation:

Take Action to Repair and Protect Crucial Resources

Vital resources, such as clean water and agricultural land, are dwindling quickly, with ominous implications. Well-meaning individual efforts and neighborhood recycling programs are not enough to ward off looming catastrophe. We must take urgent measures, including government regulation and pressure on businesses to solve this problem.

Focus the Power of Markets and Technological Innovation

While problems related to humanity's overuse of natural resources are very real, many dire predictions in the past have been rendered irrelevant by technological and social advances. As long as the right incentives are in place, our resource-overspending problems have every chance for solution by inventors, entrepreneurs, and the market.

Transform Our Cuture

We need to reconnect with values that were once prized by most Americans: frugality, altruism, social connections, and living within one's means. If we can do this, we'll be healthier, happier, and more prosperous—and the planet and our communities will be in better shape too.