Guido Mieth via Getty Images
C/O Jenica Chuahiock
As a therapist I often see people searching for fulfillment and meaning in their lives. Many people come into my office trying to figure out why they have so many beautiful things in their lives, but are unable to enjoy life. They often seek therapy because they are feeling unsettled and unhappy. This seems to not just be an individual struggle, but a societal struggle as well. It appears that as a society we have an abundance -- but we are struggling with high levels of depression and left feeling unsatisfied despite all of the beautiful stuff we surround ourselves with .
Interest in green economies, sustainable products and ethical commitments are undeniably growing. But, while consumer awareness for sustainability is rampant, does the talk translate into action? Have conscious consumers actually changed their buying habits to promote sustainability? Not necessarily, it seems.
Tetra Images via Getty Images
At this juncture in our planet's history it may be worth pausing and contemplating that the well-being of human species depends on the well-being of the biosphere. Earth has provided optimal conditions for life's evolution, but human activities are offsetting the balance.
Rhienna Cutler via Getty Images
When was the exact moment that Christmas became synonymous with buying stuff I do not know, but it seems that we've reached a point of gifting no-return. The idea of simply spending Christmas with your family without the obligatory spending and consumption is not even a possibility. If you're an average person living in a Western nation you can be pretty confident that your intended gift-receiver already has everything he or she needs and most likely lives a year where their other superfluous wants are often met.
A G Holesch via Getty Images
Some are geographically distant from those they hold dear and raise a solitary glass to absent friends. Others have lost loved ones to the grave. But for many of us, "no contact" is a choice we consciously made. Loneliness is simply less painful than the agony of spending time with our toxic families.
Only do the traditional holiday stuff you enjoy doing. If cooking a Christmas feast makes you miserable, your family will be thrilled with frozen pizza. Make the Christmas of 2015 about who we are instead of what we do, buy or cook.
Across cultures and regardless of age and gender, people whose values centre on social position and accumulation of money and possessions actually face a greater risk of unhappiness, including anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. People who are materialistic also tend to be less interested in ecological issues, have negative attitudes toward the environment and demonstrate fewer instances of sustainable behaviour. That's a tragedy for humanity and the rest of life on Earth.
Anup Shah via Getty Images
Shortly before he was tragically assassinated, Mahatma Gandhi spoke of current troublesome trends that he eventually titled The Seven Sins. Over 60 years later, these seven blunders have been so institutionalized that they have been structured into modern society in ways that are endemic.
Every parent's nightmare: They invade your home, snatch your most treasured jewel -- your two young children. You want to run and rescue your children, but you can't. The truth is your worst nightmare is a reality for captive elephants.
As it turns out, countries with low GDP ranked high in the HPI and had smaller eco-footprints compared with nations with high GDP that ranked low in the HPI and had larger eco-footprints per capita. Evidently material wealth does not equate with happiness, but instead creates more waste and pollution.
We just saw a cartoon on Facebook of a man posting a "Happy Holidays" sign, and another man looking up and yelling, "I'm sick of all this political correctness! Can we just call it what it is?" How do we celebrate the spirit of giving without being part of the hyper-consumption that makes us feel uneasy?
Marc and Craig Kielburger are the co-founders of Free The Children and Me to We, a social enterprise. They are authors of "The World Needs Your Kid: Raising Children Who Care And Contribute," with jou...