The global luxury goods market was valued at 217 billion euro's in 2020. We ask if there will be anything more luxurious, to future generations, than the natural world and the earths natural systems on which we depend?
Words by illana Adamson
An over arching conversation within the sustainability community is how do we increase the perceived value of the natural world?
We ponder on this for hours trying to understand why, in the race against climate change, has humanity been ignoring the facts and ploughing on with convenience as usual?
Then - the Covid 19 induced lockdown occurred and tilted that lens ever so slightly! It was enough to enable a view of the world where we inhabit it differently. Without the distraction of culture, and busy-busy, the physical barriers of urbanisation saw us ache to reconnect with nature. So much so, that cities around the world have seen a mass exodus as we rush to realign our geographical location with the things that we value most highly in life.
This, I believe, is the signal that humanity are falling back in love with mother earth.
It might have seemed subtle, but it could just be the shift in our values system that steers us back on course. The trigger for the, almost, mythical paradigm shift in behaviour that we so often refer to as the solution to unsustainable behaviour.
Humanity has become so physically distanced from nature, the concrete barriers of urbanisation act as a barricade to our most valuable assets - the earths services on which all life depends.
Prior to those concrete barriers, we humans were largely living in harmony with the services provided for us. A natural balance was found in never taking more than we needed. It is only really the recent past that humans have not lived in deep gratitude for the earths resources. The rhythm of our lives followed the beat of nature. The many of the festivals that are still celebrated around the world today have their roots in ancient observations of the earths ebb and flow of abundance and shortage.
Our ancestors, who's spirituality pre dates Abrahamic religions worshipped the Earth as our god, they were not just humbled by the greatness of the earths reach and her abundance but they also held a deep understanding of humanities interconnected dependence. In our not to distant past our ancestors lived in awe at the bounty of mother earth.
Our attitudes to the natural balance changed with industrialisation where the language of dominance of nature became normalised "Man over nature", "taming the wild", 'controlling waterways'. With the change in language we changed our attitudes towards the earth,
The earth became a commercial resource..Our language around earth changed, as did our attitude but our symbiotic dependence on her life force did not. We considered ourselves superior, but we were not. This notion, that elevated man over nature, became our downfall.
We lost context of how humanity was part of the symbiotic life force of the earth, a component in the complex interdependent ecosystem of life.
So when we now consider what our ultimate luxury is. Gen Z are not choosing a branded product laden with marketing finesse, labels and spin... they are looking to get their hands in the earth that serves them...We are in a mass reposition of luxury, but our grandparents will not be surprised. After all what is more valuable than time in nature with your family and a cup of tea?
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