Global Consumption

The human population of the world is now estimated to be over 7 billion people. The number of people on the planet increased markedly following the 1950’s and is estimated to reach around 10.5 billion.

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A major challenge facing us in the 21st century is feeding this growing population using the resources that our planet can provide. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said that in 2012, the food consumption on a global scales has exceeded the amount grown for six of the past 11 years. A result of this is marked increases in prices of food commodities such as wheat and maize.

The FAO reported that in 2012 870 million people are malnourished and a food crisis is growing in the Middle East and Africa.

There is only one planet to feed this growing population. Many of the world’s natural resources are finite, in that they will not last forever. Furthermore with increase agricultural demands, lands, soils and water resources are under massive strain to continually produce food products year on year.
There is currently a large imbalance between the resources consumed in the world’s richest nations compared to the poorest nations.
Use this tool to estimate how many world’s are required to fulfil your current lifestyle:

What do you think we as a society need to do to reduce our consumption of the world’s natural resources?

• Waste less food? – reuse leftovers, buy what you actually need etc.

• Waste less water? – reduce capacity of toilet cisterns, collect and reuse rainwater in households etc.

• Use less electricity? – Energy saving lightbulbs, increase insulation and reduce heating in households, public transport and peddle power etc.

• Reduce meat consumption? – the production of meat products require high levels of inputs in feed and water, perhaps having at least one meat free day per week can help.

• Think about your consumer choices and actions in a global context.

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