Are we ready to give it up?

I was reading the first chapter of Natural Capitalism and started thinking of something I from time to time have thought of ever since the discussion first came up in class during one of my three high school years.
A piece of the text concerned this.
In less developed countries, people need realistic and achievable means to better their lives.
The world’s growing population cannot attain a Western standard of living by following traditional industrialpaths to development, for the resources required are too vast, too expensive, and too damaging to local and global systems.
Instead, radical improvements in resource productivity expand their possibilities for growth, and can help to ameliorate the polarization of wealth between rich and poor segments of the globe
.”
As I interpret the text the authors believe that the way for developing countries to achieve Western standards of living is to radically improve efficient use of resources that are better for preserving the environment. I am not sure if the book mentions other things in later chapters, but I am sceptical to if this is the ONLY thing needed.
The discussion I had many years ago was mainly about the fact that we who live in developed countries, and who are used to waste energy and a lot of other things, have to be ready to give some of that up if everyone on the planet is to have the same possibility to live a comfortable life (like I do for example). It eventually became a wild debate between people with some slightly different views on what they were willing to sacrifice…
I do think that sustainable development is the way to go when it comes to keeping the inter-generational equity, but I strongly believe that people in the West have to start rethinking about how they live their lives. Andrea wrote about the water-problems facing us, this is just one of the things we have to consider in our daily lives. As I am from Sweden I’m used to having nice clean fresh drinking water everytime I turn the tap on. It’s enough for me to come to France and realize that this is not the case in even the rest of Western Europe (you french people have some strange chemicals in your water…).
One of my personal problems with the usage of water is that I tend to turn the tap on a little too often and a little too long. I really enjoy warm baths at home, but I don’t really want to think about how much water I waste by doing that. I would get just as clean taking a shorter shower. There are people in this world who never get clean water and I feel so spoiled reminding myself of that I sometimes do the dishes under running water. But the question is, am I willing to give my long showers up so that other people can have access to fresh water? In theory the question is of course YES, but do I try to change my behaviour? The answer to that is a bit more vague, I might not always act as I think I should.
There is more examples of how we spend energy unnecessarily, like having the TV on while not looking or leaving the lights on while going to the supermarket. It might seem as small things, but it is important in the long run. Not only do we need a new way of thinking about sustaining the enviropnment and improving the lives of poorer people, we need to change our actions. What happens when the use of water might get restricted one day? Or when the electricity prices sky rockets? Is it first then we will change our wasteful habits or is it possible to do that earlier?
‘Cause the saying goes: “You can’t teach an old dog to sit” (at least we say that in Sweden, if you have not heard it you will probably still understand the underlying meaning of it).
Do you guys and girls have any ideas about how we can work on changing our ways? And are you yourselves willing to give up some of the things in life you might take for granted?

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