I was thinking on how environment conservation efforts might be enhanced or enforced and I was reflecting that people have to develop a colective conscience that would allow them to spend extra time and work for the good of the community and for the future generations, and not necessarily for an immediate benefit.

The question I keep asking myself is whether people are actually capable of this mindset. Are there any documented cases in history where a society has altruistically created or conserved something exclusively for the benefit of next generations?

An good example of such behavior would be the following: the inhabitants of a region discover a deposit of gold and instead of going full force with the extraction, they rationalize thinking that the gold might benefit their children.

I regard building cities as a method for the aim of satisfying day to day needs and art as a mean to not be forgotten.

Can this type of altruistic behavior propagate even in a society that doesn’t meet the best quality of life standards and where most members are not highly educated?

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    $\begingroup$ Sometimes yes and sometimes no. I don't quite see how it's a suitable question for this site. More like for history.SE. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 6:41
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    $\begingroup$ This is pretty good if popsci background read. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 11:28
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    $\begingroup$ And closer to our times: theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/11/… $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 11:34
  • $\begingroup$ And if you're thinking at global scale, there's unfortunately not enough data. The only thing that might qualify is (avoiding( the nuclear armageddon, but that unfortunately meant not doing something stupid as opposed to just going on about one's business (with head in the sand)... which is unfortunately what could cause global warming to spiral out of control. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 11:42
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    $\begingroup$ @Fizz in all this seems like an answer to me. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


Short answer

Consider the following organizations solely acting for preservation:

One way they do this is by outreach to local communities and educate them on the value of stretches of land. For example see

So yes, I don't know if this is what you're after, but of course communities can be put to work for the greater cause.

Further, as others have pointed out, this is borderline ontopic here imo, but it is an interesting and hot issue nonetheless.

- Nicholls, Sci Am, April 2017)

  • $\begingroup$ I think this answer is good, as long as enforcing WWF and UNESCO policies is a form of sacrificing economical imediate benefit for environment sustainability. $\endgroup$
    – VAndrei
    Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 6:20

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