Today is World Environmental Day with the theme focusing on
Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.
What is our contribution?
Living sustainably is about being able to do more and in a better way with less than what we currently have. We need to acknowledge that the rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur is not a necessary by-product of economic growth. The well-being of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. It is quite evident that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide. Lets discuss a few points on living sustainably.
While substantial environmental impacts from food occur in the production phase, households influence these impacts through their dietary choices/lifestyles and habits. For example, three billion tons of food is wasted every year while almost one billion people go undernourished with another one billion left hungry. It is evident that overconsumption of food is detrimental to both our health and the environment we live in. This is highlighted by the fact that five billion people globally are overweight or obese.
The impact on our environment is vast. Land degradation, declining soil fertility, unsustainable water use, over fishing and marine environment degradation are all lessening the ability of the natural resource base to supply food. In addition, the food sector accounts for around 30% of the world’s total energy consumption but also accounts for around 22% of total greenhouse gas emissions. With increased consumption globally, this has an adverse effect on food security and the increase in food prices. This has also caused an upsurge in production methods that use more resource-intensive food products. Consequently resource-intensive foods deplete the agro-ecological resource base, affecting its ability to produce plentiful food.
Even though households are relatively low consumers of water, population growth and expanded water use have outweighed the effect of water saving technology and behavior. For example, less than 3% of the world’s water is fresh (drinkable), of which 2.5% is frozen in the Antarctica, Arctic Oceans and glaciers. Therefore humanity must rely on 0.5% for all of man’s ecosystems and fresh water needs. Man is however polluting this water faster than nature can recycle and purify water in rivers and lakes. We are still living with the fact than more than one billion people do not have access to fresh water with excessive use of water contributing to the global water stress problem. Even though water is free from nature the infrastructure required to deliver it, is quite expensive.
Commercial and residential energy use is the second most rapidly growing area of global energy use after transport. Despite technological advances that have promoted energy efficiency gains, energy use in OECD countries will continue to grow another 35% by 2020. For example, in 2002 the motor vehicle stock in OECD countries was 550 million vehicles (75% of which were personal cars). A 32% increase in vehicle ownership is expected by 2020. At the same time, motor vehicle kilometres are projected to increase by 40% and global air travel is projected to triple in the same period.
What can we do better?
We can shift our consumption patterns towards goods and services with lower energy and material intensity without compromising quality of life. Households consume 29% of global energy and consequently contribute to 21% of resultant CO2 emissions. The cost of renewable energy is increasingly competitive with that derived from fossil fuels. One-fifth of the world’s final energy consumption in 2013 was from renewables. Globally, energy consumption grew most quickly in the transport and service sectors, driven by rising passenger travel and freight transport, and a rapid expansion in the service economy.
In order for this shift to occur it needs to start somewhere, our organisation is a part of this global movement to change the mindsets of all so that we can adopt live sustainable lifestyles. Help us inspire others to live sustainably, we will be preserving our beautiful lands this Sunday, for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Humanitarians in Action!