The population of the United States is now over 300 million. Can we sustain a rate of growth like this?
Economically, no: Andrew Buncombe writes in the Independent that “the average US citizen uses far more than his or her fair share of the planet’s resources?consuming more than four times the worldwide average of energy, almost three times as much water and producing more than twice the average amount of rubbish and five times the amount of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming.” We have to hope that rapidly developing countries like China and India don’t follow our example.
Even at 300 million, we have only 5% of the world’s population, yet, according to Buncombe, we use “23% of its energy, 15% of its meat and 28% of its paper.”
Every year, humans deplete the earth’s natural resources at a higher rate than they did the previous year, causing the earth to become stretched to the limit, when it comes to what nature has to give us. In LiveScience.com, Sara Goudarzi quotes Justin Kitzes, of the Global Footprint Network, as saying, “It turns out that there is about 24 billion acres of space that can produce things that are useful for humans. And then we say how many [acres] do we demand every year? When you compare the two you see that in this year, for example, we used up the equivalent capacity of one-and-a-quarter planets.”
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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