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?