Buddhism in Japan is a funny thing. I lived in Japan, and went to school in a Buddhist school, we had weekly meditation sessions, monks would walk on the hallways in the robes, and the principal also doubled as the head monk in the temple next to the school. (In fact, the school was owned by a temple, which also owned a nearby university) You could say that all of my classmates were practicing Buddhist. My host family was incredibly traditional, they went to the temple, had altars in their home to their ancestor, and maintained a back yard modeled after the gardens you would find in any temple.
Yet, everyone I knew was completely westernized, they went to the movies on weekends, played on their playstations, kept up with fashion, and were not what one imagines when the world Buddhist is said in the west. In my experience people make religion match their lifestyles, not the other way around, and I experienced this in Japan.
Technology has created a disconnect with the environment, but I also believe that we can use technology to reconnect with nature, and I also believe that technology is the only way we have out of this hole we dug ourselves in.
To answer your last question, I do not believe that placing a lesser focus in economic well-being is the answer, I believe people that are not as economically stable are less likely to want to protect the environment. I would not care about global warming if I did not have a roof over my head.