We still seek the immediate, but it is often the irrelevant, non-real side of life. That impulse to simply do what is available, no matter future consequences, is hard wired into our thinking, even if that means hurting the planet and thus ourselves.
But, hard-wired or no, we need to short-circuit that brain pattern, or we are in for a very short but hard trip to collapse. Some argue that it is inevitable, and others believe that the techno-fairy will tap its magic wand on our monstrous, pointy-headed society, magically taking us to that "NEXT BIG THING."
Oh, foolish people.
That "next big thing" is a pipe dream and a recipe for further destruction. Let's say we invent that mother of all techno-masturbatory dreams--fusion. What then? If we listen to the techno-philes, it is "Game over, we win." According to them, it means we get to keep going with business as usual.
Hmm. So, that means we will continue to pave the planet, cut down the forests, destroy the topsoil, use up the fresh water resources, and rape the oceans, except we can do it really fast now that we have all that cheap energy. Energy, free or not, does not mean the planet suddenly becomes an infinite supplier of all other resources. The cupboard will run out. Meanwhile, the population continues to grow. When we hit that next great wall of crisis that is all the worse due to the business as usual viagra effect of fusion, the number of people who will die due to a collapse doubles, triples, or perhaps quadruples. Oh my. So, it seems that encouraging business as usual is tantamount to encouraging a larger die-off. Would that be a war crime in the war to save the planet? How even more monstrous would we have thought Hitler if it came to light that his plans included breeding more Jews, Gypsies, and other "undesirables" in order to kill even more of them? What if he kept those people in large camps, called "cities" where they would build the machinery of their own future destruction?
Immediate results. This is not a bad thing if framed correctly by a reality that comports with that outlook. In other words, we want the good kind of immediate result: the satisfaction of planting a crop correctly, knowing that later in the season food will be available; cleaning up the rivers, knowing that years, if not decades from now, everyone will be able to drink from that river; encouraging ecosystems not only for their ability to share with us, but their ability to share with all. The results we seek will accrue to the next generation, and the next, and the next, and even maybe to the current generation. The result does not have to be an immediate tangible payout. It can be a payout in pride and satisfaction knowing that your acts are contributing to the future, to the seventh generation.
Do not wait for someone to tell you to do this or that. Just take the future by the hand and do what's next. Plant that native nut or fruit tree. Find a neglected spot that will support your life addition and plant it. If we all did this once a day, a week, or month, the world would fill up with life that then goes onto to provide more habitat and life, and it all grows exponentially until we live on a planet where we don't grow food, food grows.
We need this. While it would be fun to kidnap some environmental terrorist from the corporate world and make them pay somehow for their depredations, that act would only eliminate one small cog soon to be replaced by another. Now, I am not saying we should not fight the corporations in all ways possible (see Endgame by Derrick Jensen), but along the way, please attempt to add to the world every chance possible.
The de-engineering of civilization is also important, and I'll cover that soon.