It’s one second to twelve. Energy crisis, climate change, environmental destruction, species extinction, consumption swamp, hamster wheel. We are already looking into the abyss and keep going cheerfully.
Why do we increasingly value more and more often less and less? Not only can everyone ask this question, it should also be debated publicly. Because appreciation is a key to a sustainable life. If you do not care, you do not protect anything.
To value something means to value it positively, to respect it and to include it. Appreciation expresses benevolence, empathy, kindness and interest – towards oneself, one’s fellow beings, the environment, food and objects.
It’s best to start with yourself. Anyone who accepts and loves his life is interested in making life sustainable and worth living.
In a life worth living, valued and appreciative people play a crucial role. A person with high self-esteem often has a respectful attitude toward his fellow beings and is more valued by others. This is the breeding ground for the readiness and joy to pull together and stand up for the welfare of all.
The welfare of all is possible only in an intact environment. That is why the appreciation of nature, the flora and fauna is so important. Without appreciation, the motivation for environmental protection is eliminated.
Nutrition also shows how closely esteem and sustainability are intertwined. For us in the First World, food seems to be abundantly available. Under what outrageous circumstances and with what negative effects the majority of animal food, but also many plant foods are produced, is well known. Nevertheless, we want to eat cheap food. So we can afford to throw away 1.3 billion tons of food per year. That could feed 3.2 billion people. Currently, 800 million people are starving in the world.
Last but not least, it is important to value the objects. In our throwaway society, there is little value left over. We have more and more in ever shorter cycles. At the same time, the alternative actions of a sustainable living society for ordinary new purchase have existed long ago. They are minimalism, voluntary surrender, repair, self-repair or manufacture, lend, rent, exchange, share, buy second-hand …
“Rather, one does not appreciate goodness until it is lost,” wrote the German poet and philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder in the 18th century. Now we are a second away from losing the good. If we do not want to abolish ourselves, we have to act now. We have the knowledge and the possibilities to turn things around. This will only work if we recognize appreciation again as a value to be appreciated.