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Overpopulation is bad, but excessive consumption is worse



Overpopulation is bad, but excessive consumption is worse



Profamilia 10(22): 76-77



The notion that consumption in developed countries is the main cause of ecological deterioration and planetary contamination is contested by many who assert that overpopulation in the developing world is the main factor. But the great disparity in income and consumption between rich and poor countries cannot be ignored. Each Canadian consumes 16 to 20 times more than an inhabitant of India or China and 60 to 70 times more than an inhabitant of Bangladesh. Consequently, the 1.1 billion inhabitants of industrialized countries cause ecological effects equivalent to what would be produced by 17 to 70 billion inhabitants of developing countries. The planet could not support 5.5 billion persons consuming at the rate of the 1.1 billion in the developed world. Consumption has been encouraged by the government and businesses in the U.S. and is an important factor in the health of the economy. But increases in consumption are not sustainable indefinitely. Much of current consumption results from inefficiency and waste. The life style of the developed countries has a high price in violence, alienation, alcoholism, vandalism, loneliness, pollution, and disturbance of the family and neighborhood. Becoming content with less consumption and striving for a future based on communities with greater self-confidence and self-sufficiency is a reasonable goal from both ecological and social points of view.

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Accession: 046897675

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PMID: 12287896


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