" 'Join a diverse group of people in a room – different genders, races, ages, occupations, and levels of education – and ask them to describe a world they want to live in 50 years from now. Do we want to drive two hours to work? No. Do we want to be healthy? Yes. Do we want to live in places that are safe? Do we want our children to grow up in a world where they are hopeful? Do we want to be able to worship without fear of persecution? Do we want to live in a world where nature is rebounding and not receding? No one disagrees; our vision is the same. What we need to do is identify, together, the design criteria for how we get there.'

(Paul Hawken, "Natural Capitalism" interview in Yoga Journal)

"With inspired design, we can have architecture that lasts a thousand years (instead of eight, like many Wal-Mart buildings). With maturing knowledge about ecology, we can have waste treatment that mimics nature, like John Todd's 'Living Machines,' which use diverse, efficient biosystems to purify water, aesthetically. We can have energy that comes directly from income (the sun) rather than savings (fossil fuels). We can support local banks that in turn support local needs. We can have less stressful lifestyles and more time with family and friends, as advocated by members of the 'slow food' movement, for whom fast food is synonymous with anxiety. Chances are we can have what we want, if we recycle our worn-out paradigm into a new one, in which our decisions and our policies are driven more by our hopes than by our fears. We know what a dysfunctional future would feel like: an endless string of bad-news days that deplete our energy and strip away our sense of balance. If we continue on the same path, our economy will ultimately crash like the Titanic, and the waters will be icy.

" 'It can't happen,' we tell each other, 'our economy is now unsinkable.' But it can – and will – happen, unless we get busy. We need to convert convictions into public policy, and ideas about sustainability into reality.

"As individuals, we don't need to be millionaires to eat well, sleep soundly, or get to know our neighbors. Without any doubt, we do need to consume less, because we're running out of affordable resources as well as tolerable places to dump our wastes. But the core issue of this book goes beyond consuming less to wanting less, and needing less. From Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous we can progress to the more rewarding Lifestyles of the Content and Healthy.

"Think about all the money we spend to fight various diseases, many of which (like allergies, cancer, diabetes, and stroke) are caused or aggravated by affluent lifestyles. Then remember that affluenza is one disease that we can cure by spending less money, not more.

"The bottom line is this: When your time comes and your whole life flashes before you, will it hold your interest? How much of the story will be about moments of clarity and grace, kindness and caring? Will the main character – you – appear as large and noble as life itself, or as tiny and absurd as a cartoon figure, darting frantically among mountains of stuff? It's up to you, and indeed, it's up to all of us!"