Friday, 25 August 2017

American way of living needs 4 Earths

Americans consume a disproportional amount of the world's stuff. It's obvious that Americans consume more, on average, than the people of less developed countries. But the claim that four Earths would be needed if everyone lived like Americans is still a striking one.
  • America make up 5% of the global population.
  • America uses 24% of the world's energy. 
  • America eats 15% of the world's meat. 
  • America produces 40% of the world's garbage.
  • America eats 10 billion animals every year. 
  • America throws out 16 billion disposable diapers every year. 
It would take 4 Earths, to be precise 3.9 Earths, to sustain world population of seven billion at American levels of consumption. At Indian consumption level, world requires just half the planet.

One curious thing to note is that the world's population is currently using not one, but one-and-a-half Earths. The forests and oceans of the world absorb a lot of carbon dioxide, but we are currently emitting more than the planet can handle and extra land and sea we would need to absorb it is estimated that we need an extra half a planet.

5% of the world's population that lives in the U.S. has more environmental impact than the 51% that live in the other five largest countries. The wealthiest 20% of the world's population consumes 80% of the goods and services produced from the earth's resources.

The global economy cannot grow indefinitely on a finite planet. As populations increase and economies expand, natural resources must be depleted; prices will rise, and humanity -- especially the poor and future generations at all income levels -- will suffer as a result.

Americans ought to realize that although we must satisfy basic needs, a good life is not the one devoted to amassing material possessions which eventually comes to own us, keeping us from fulfilling commitments that give meaning to life, such as those to family, friends, and faith. 

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