Our planet’s regenerative capacity is being greatly exceeded as the world’s population is now producing and consuming more resources than ever. In fact, in developed and developing countries, people are acquiring much more than what they actually need and therefore producing an enormous amount of waste.
Our growing population puts so much pressure on the environment that nowadays the natural resources are no longer as abundant as they used to be. How we use and dispose of non-renewable resources is radically altering our ecosystems and even the planet’s renewable resources (such as water, timber or fish) are rapidly being exhausted. We have now reached a tipping point where the quality of air and water needs to be improved, the level of production needs to be balanced and the amount of waste generated needs to be reduced.
Sustainable consumption is all about ‘doing more and better with less,’ through reducing resource use, degradation and pollution while increasing the quality of life for all.
The massive consumption of both renewable and nonrenewable resources contributes to a massive loss of biodiversity – with current extinction rates of birds, mammals and amphibians estimated to be at least 100 times, but possibly over 1,000 times, higher than pre-industrial rates. The poorest population is most affected by such changes giving that they rely directly on natural resources — such as fishing, small-scale agriculture or forestry — for their livelihoods.
Pollution and over-exploitation of the world’s resources are increasingly compromising our own wellbeing and quality of life. The planet cannot afford to continue taking this path. A transition towards a more sustainable lifestyle is crucial to enable future generations to have access to their fair share of resources.
There are many possibilities as for how we can change our unsustainable consumption habits while also improving our quality of life. To do more with less is essential for us to live within the resources the planet has to offer. Changing our current living standards requires us to adopt innovative and creative solutions on the way we use and dispose the products and services we own and consume. This could enable a transition to more sustainable activities and lifestyles while also protecting the world’s natural resources.
So orient your action for World Environment Day this year to an activity that promotes sustainable consumption and be the one to reshape our future!