Too much for one world – why consumption destroys us

One of this, another one of that – consumption has become normal for us humans. It has become the norm to throw something away just because there is a newer version of it. Someone’s hungry? No problem; order the biggest size. And if minutes later they’re full, also no problem; throw it in the trash.

What humans don’t notice: the world’s resources aren’t endless! Day by day more people join the earth. But the earth does not get bigger. The result: We use more resources than the planet has to offer. And this could have serious consequences in the near future.

Check out the facts

the outcome of consumption

The so-called living planet index – short LPI – shows best what is happening. It measures the resources and the population of our planet. The LPI was founded in 1998 by the WWF and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Since then it is published every two years in the “Living Planet Report”.

The terrifying fact: while the LPI-graph is constantly going down, consumption is increasing. Unfortunately, nature is not replaceable. If it’s gone, humanity will have a problem! To further understand this problem, here are some facts:

  • In the last 40 years, the animal population has immensely decreased.
  • Since 1970, the animal population has been reduced to approximately 62 percent compared to the beginning of measurement.
  • The animal population is reduced by about 2 percent each year.
  • Today, we would need 1.7 earths to cover the resource consumption.
  • The battle for resources has already begun in the form of wars and violence.
  • Hundreds of tons of oil are pumped into the world’s largest oil field every day – because there is not enough natural oil left.
  • About 6000 people die every day because of contaminated water.
  • More copper is used in cities, houses, and vehicles worldwide than is available in the ground.
  • Natural resources such as coral reefs, rainforests, and the earth’s atmosphere are damaged by humans.
  • Because of the aforementioned, humankind can now only release 750 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere before climate change becomes uncontrollable.

The list can go on, but to cut it short, these are just a few of the most shocking facts. Because of these changes and risky developments, scientists speak of a new geological era, the so-called Anthropocene, during which human activity has a big influence on climate change.

There is no balance

poverty vs. abundance

Another problem is that the resources of the world are distributed unequally. While people in western countries consume more than they need, people in other parts of the world are happy with the bare minimum. They are happy about the resources available, while the former consumes because of appetite and lust. As the saying goes: “The world is a funny place. There is more fruit in a rich man’s shampoo than on a poor man’s plate.”

Even if there were enough resources in a country to feed its people, this would not happen. Because the resources do exist. But reality is, these resources are shipped overseas. There, they are sold as exotic fruits and vegetables for much more money than in the country of origin. Not to mention all of the carbon dioxide released, when transporting these goods.

The thing with human footprints

human footprint on the earth

To stop this, humans have to reduce their ecological footprint which is difficult to do in the present time. Humanity faces the challenge of preserving nature and all its benefits and satisfying the human hunger for resources across the planet.

To begin with, everyone should think twice about consumption. Maybe the smaller plate is really enough. Perhaps the white pair of shoes is not that necessary. Maybe eating meat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is not obligatory. And maybe a look into the fridge before grocery shopping can help reduce food trash.

Just think about it – perhaps we can reduce consumption just enough to save our world at the last minute.