Travelling by plane, eating meat everyday, buying a new mobile phone every year… most Europeans enjoy a more prosperous life than ever before. But the ever-growing demand for new products that we don’t necessarily need has a negative impact on the world around us.
Living better within limits
We will not be able to continue living as we do today. In developed countries, our problem is overconsumption, using more than we actually need. Coupled, at the global level, with the growing population and the spreading influence of consumer culture – both of which are swelling the demand for goods and services – we are exceeding the planet’s capacity to sustain our consumption habits.
The simple fact is that we are hitting ecological limits. Natural resources are becoming scarce – oil reserves, for instance, are expected to be depleted by the end of the century – and more difficult and damaging to collect and produce. But this is a less ‘inconvenient truth’ than it seems: we can live better, within limits, if we start adapting sustainable behaviours now!
Reduce your environmental footprint
If we switch to a healthy lifestyle and eco-friendly products, we can protect ourselves and our environment. Let’s start thinking about our future, let’s become conscious citizens and consumers. It’s our choice!
Statistics tell us that homes, household goods, food and travel are together responsible for between 70-80% of all environmental impacts. So, what does conscious or sustainable consumption mean in practice?
When buying something, think about the entire ‘lifecycle’ of the product:
- from the materials used: are they scarce? Were they collected and produced in a
- to packaging: does it use a lot of unnecessary plastic?
- to transport: where does it come from? Is it local and seasonal?
- to use: do I really need it? Will I consume it all? Will I use it often?
- to disposal: what can I do with this when I no longer need it? Can I recycle it?
By thinking about what we consume in this way, we start to have a better understanding of our impact on the environment.
Approximately 15,500 litres of water is used to produce 1kg of beef. That’s more than 100 baths!
It’s estimated that we throw away nearly one-quarter of the food that we buy! That’s not only bad for our wallets, but also for the environment because of the ’unnecessary’ production, transport and disposal of all that unused food.
A lot of food waste can be prevented simply by planning ahead:
- use a shopping list so that you only buy what you need
- store food properly so as to keep it safe and fresh
- try making the most of leftovers with new recipes
To find out more:
United Kingdom > Sustainable consumption
Sustainable consumption and production
Search "Sustainable Development"
(Sustainable Consumption and Production Network)