People's lives need not necessarily be better/safer by taking steps towards the mitigation of climate change. I think they do it because their actions give their lives some sort of meaning, and some respect in the community.
I don't think individual actions really make much of a difference because despite what they say, people don't really seem to be cognizant of their actions. I've come across self-avowed "environmentalists" who don't have a problem using single-use plastic bags.
I think regulators, and by extension, the government has to play a bigger role. Of course, they need to bring in the people who can show them the scientific evidence and plan a course of action because, let's not mince our words here, politicians don't know what they're talking about most of the time.
Do the actions help the future generation? Who knows? We don't know what we don't know. Forecasting and modeling can only go so far.