One way of conceiving environmental awareness is that it's all about fighting our desire for instant gratification. But there is another way to think about instant gratification that an ecological worldview opens to us.
I have an old trunk full of letters written to me when I was at camp and at college and living abroad. I have letters written on onion-skin paper and on pages ripped from college notebooks. I have love letters from old boyfriends and letters from friends I never thought I'd lose touch with.
Once a day, when you're getting ready to text or email someone, call them and talk instead. Better yet, if it's someone at work or someone close to where you are, go over and deliver your message in person.
How do we balance the desire to use our discretionary income to shower our kids with gifts we never had with our desire to continue to teach these important cultural values of conservation and creative reuse?"
True gratification is neither immediate nor is it delayed. True gratification is an odd combination of both, an ongoing experience of fulfillment that combines what is in front of you with your larger aspirations in life.