It’s obvious that the key problem facing humanity in the coming century is how to bring a better quality of life – for 8 billion or more people – without wrecking the environment entirely in the attempt.
Well, it’s official; we most certainly have arrived…7 billion people and counting. Questions abound on the overpopulation of the world and what are we going to do about it? Most of the population growth is happening in the starving, underprivileged parts of the world. Providing all women of the world with human rights that include education, equal participation in society, and the right to choose contraception are ways to address overpopulation. However, reproduction rates are not the biggest problem. It is important to note that the people living in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia make up a mere 20% of the world’s population. However, this small percentile is consuming more that 80% of the world’s resources in the most environmentally devastating ways. The direct cause of environmental devastation is corporations driven by monetary greed. However, statistics show that both hunger and obesity are at epidemic levels. Overconsumption by the most privileged is a huge determining factor in rampant environmental destruction and resource depletion. While it is not individual households that are the culprits, we are complicit by allowing consumerism to become habitual and out of control. We, the privileged, have a greater responsibility to change our ways because even zero population growth cannot adequately impact global warming. Right now studies have documented that we are consuming the earth’s resources faster than it can regenerate and recover. The reduction of waste and overconsumption is something that needs to be addressed aggressively on a grassroots level. We can help everyone we meet to develop a conscience about consumerism and waste by example and encouragement. We can address the government a municipal, provincial and national levels with genuine concern about finding cleaner energy sources and encourage others to do the same. An apathetic and indifferent population does not change the way things are done by our government…they need to hear from all of us. The government needs to know that, we the people with votes, demand more sustainable ways of development. For the most part the seat of government,regardless of which country, is in a densely populated area, wrapped in the cocoon of industrial wealth and influence. But each and every one of us in these privileged countries has the right to be heard. We can research the issue about which we feel passionate and write to the government stating our concerns in an informed way. We can let the government know that when it comes to the sustainability of the resources of the world our votes will not go toward a government that supports wanton corporate greed at the expense of the environment. As each of us develop the drive to change our consumer habits for the good of the environment, so too, should the governance of industrial development change for the good of the environment.