They attribute this crisis to three factors: economic growth, population growth and overconsumption – the latter driven by marketing techniques that promise to ‘elevate our social status above others’.
In ‘World scientists’ warning: The behavioural crisis driving ecological overshoot‘ these scientists argue for measures to influence the behaviour of wealthier societies in favour of reducing consumption.
“We are trapped in a system built to encourage growth and appetites that will end us.“
However, there is a way out of this trap of status-driven over-consumption:
“Recent studies have pointed to a counter-signalling effect amongst wealthier populations, wherein more status is actually conferred to those who consciously try to impress by consuming less (e.g. driving modest cars, taking transit, wearing clothes from the thrift store, etc.). By developing ways to positively socialise responsible behaviour, we can help people maintain their sense of self-worth and social status while reducing their contribution to ecological overshoot.”
While this paper makes no mention of religion as a potential modifier of human behaviour in favour of reduced consumption it will nevertheless strengthen the argument of Pope Francis and others that technology alone cannot solve the human ecological crisis.