We can live meaningful life by preserving the environment and building more robust systems for survival

Because our purpose of life is sustainable survival, we can live a meaningful life by doing our best to preserve our sustainable survival. We all have different skills, resources and circumstances so each of can best contribute to the survival of mankind in his or her own way.

We can live with purpose for example by implementing sustainable practices to protect our environment and decrease the probability and severity of our decline. The less we consume, the more we recycle, the less we destroy habitats, the more people can our planet support in peace. There are many easy reduce, reuse, recycle routines that anyone can do to contribute towards sustainability. It’s best to start with yourself – leading by example is proven to inspire others. You can increase the impact by implementing such practices in your family, workplace, neighborhood, amongst people you know and in wider society, depending on your power and influence.

  • Drink (filtered) tap water instead of buying bottled water, refill water bottles
  • Preserve water during shower and washing
  • Install energy-efficient lights and appliances and turn them off when not in use
  • Make home energy efficiency improvements (Energy audits are often free and will tell you how you can best save money and environment at the same time. Ask about local government incentives that can make payback of such investments surprisingly short)
  • Ride a bicycle, take public transportation or share a ride
  • Buy environmentally responsible products
  • Avoid excess consumption of anything
  • Sell or donate stuff in good condition that you don’t need anymore instead of trashing it
  • Recycle garbage, old electronics and don’t allow nasty stuff like batteries into landfills
  • And much much more to reduce, reuse, recycle

We can reduce the probability of a steep decline of our civilization by promoting more robust and less vulnerable systems. Centralized and large-scale systems tend to be more efficient and that is why our profit-seeking society prefers to build them. The disadvantage is their vulnerability. For example small scale electricity generation from renewables is not as cost-efficient as a nuclear power-plant, but will come handy if some terrorists attack the centralized facilities. Living in a downtown high-rise makes your life easier now, but a suburban house with a garden will make survival easier if things turn sour. If you support local farmers by buying their produce, they will be able to supply you with food if the shipping lanes of cheap imported food get interrupted. Having a well in a garden might sound old-fashioned, but will be invaluable if central water supply system fails.

We have pretty much lost our ability to survive in wild nature, but we can increase the probability of our own survival by preparing skills and tools for the worst case scenario. How about taking family or friends out for some adventure fun survival course that might come handy one day? Or how about sending kids to Scout so that they learn to start fire and use compass? At least studying a survival handbook1 can be fun and provide you with some useful knowledge.
There are many tools that can help us survive depending on the severity of the threat. The most proactive survivalists build survival shelters under their homes or on some secret location. If your net worth is a couple of million dollars, it probably makes sense to spend a small fraction on such real life insurance2. But even with limited budget you can stock up on basic survival supplies that are cheap now, but will be invaluable in case of an emergency (see Survival packing list)

  1. For example try the ‘SAS Survival Guide’ by Collins gem  
  2. Financial products called ‘life insurance’ will be completely useless If our society collapses. Systems that will help you survive will be the real life insurance then.  

We seek happiness on top of survival, yet there is no happiness without survival

Our culture has become obsessed with the pursuit of happiness. Yet “happiness cannot actually be pursued but must ensue from living a meaningful life”1.

We feel that even though survival is essential, life should not only be about surviving. For most organisms, the purpose of life and all their derived goals and activities are actually rather limited to surviving. But highly successful organisms are efficient in reducing time required for survival and have some extra time to spend. The natural way of spending this time is for own well-being, or happiness as people call it. While microorganisms rarely cease to look for nutrition, lion can afford to rest most of the day.

Even though important to recharge our energy for surviving, happiness and especially pleasure should not be mistaken for the purpose of life. Fortunately many actions that contribute to survival are rewarded by happiness, short-term actions with short-term happiness, and long-term actions with long-term happiness. The very act of reproduction, sex, gives us pleasure, a short-term happiness. Raising healthy and successful children rewards us with a more stable sort of happiness. But ensuring sustainability of mankind offers the long-term satisfaction of living a purposeful life that you can hold on to when you become too old for sex and children have left home to live their own lives.

Survival does not guarantee happiness, but it enables happiness. There won’t be any happiness if we don’t survive.

  1. Finding by a famous psychologist Viktor E. Frankl in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning”  

Our survival is seriously threatened

Firstly, the environment is being damaged at unsustainable rate.

Secondly, the probability of an unprecedented global catastrophe keeps growing

We are not prepared for a global disaster. We might only have a short notice1 so preparing when we the threat is imminent will be too late.

  1. For example, a war can start any time – Pearl Harbor was also not announced. Terrorists can strike anytime – we were not expecting 9/11 either. Global crisis can come as abruptly and unexpectedly as the one in 2008. A deadly meteor can appear with only two weeks notice – even with current technology we can’t monitor all space objects large like the one that eliminated dinosaurs until they come relatively close to Earth. Virus can mutate and start spreading as abruptly as SARS or swine flu did.