Sustainable Consumption

Sustainable Consumption

  • 16 October 2012

If the population across the globe were to maintain a consumption level equivalent to that found in the developed world alone, it is estimated that we would need an extra four planets in addition to our current one. Young people today form an important category within consumer societies. The consumption habits adopted by youth today will have a crucial role in future consumption patterns and would impact markets and life patterns. Therefore, young people deserve special attention in order to change their consumption patterns, which are characterized by wastefulness, and direct them towards sustainable consumption. We, the youth of today, can translate our aspirations for a better world into daily actions. This program is an opportunity to unite the UAE’s youth with young people in the rest of the world and give them a greater role in environment-related decisions.

Over-consumption is a byproduct of the welfare provision in society and economic prosperity. How can we link what we are experiencing now with the future we hope for generations to come? Current consumption patterns are completely linked to the welfare of humanity. To what extent would young people give up certain levels of welfare in order to protect resources and promote sustainable development? Consumer protection groups play an important role in such a project, through cooperation with youth associations and environment protection associations etc. Appropriate consumer culture is one of the most important factors for sustainable consumption.

According to the ‘Agenda 21’ (the action plan concerning sustainable development adopted at the Earth Summit on the Environment in Rio de Janeiro in 1992), “a major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries.” Consumption patterns that exceed the resources of the planet are no longer an option in the long run—the issue is to change production and consumption patterns fast enough to catch up with economic growth. America’s population makes up 5–6 percent of the world’s population, yet it consumes 30 percent of the earth’s resources and produces 40 percent of the world’s waste. Can we live twice as well by using half the earth’s resources? Waste is simply raw materials that can be re-used in other industries.

In general, young people are aware of the environment and the social implications of environmental issues. They are also aware of issues such as waste and methods of disposal, air pollution by car exhausts as well as noise pollution. However, surveys have shown that these young people have never thought of linking these environmental issues with the production of things they consume. This is not unexpected; for example, when buying a box of matches, do we consider the number of trees cut down in a rainforest somewhere on the planet and its destruction; or a seven-year-child forced to work 12 hours non-stop for a pittance in the production of this matchbox? I do not think that it would occur to anyone.

Definition of Sustainable Consumption:

Sustainable consumption aims to find solutions applicable to social and environmental imbalances through responsible behavior by all people. Sustainable consumption is associated in particular with production, distribution, usage and disposal of products and services. It provides a method to re-consider the production cycle and ensure the fulfillment of basic needs of the international community while reducing over-consumption and avoiding harm to the environment. Sustainable consumption is an integral part of sustainable development and a very important issue for the United Nations. Sustainable development can meet present-day requirements without compromising the ability of future generations to have their needs met. Reduction of consumption is often not always the main priority, but rather consumption in a different and efficient way is the challenge. Basically, think before you buy. Consider what you really need, not what you want. When you are on a tourist trip, just take pictures; leave behind only your footprints. It is possible to live twice as better and consume only half the precious resources we use.

Share

LECTURER

Tuesday 16 October 2012

-

Tuesday 16 October 2012

-