World Population Day – Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

We are in a realm of an ever increasing population and with World Population Day occurring on 11th July 2016; a day to focus on the issues with global population, it seemed a great opportunity to highlight how more people = more damage to the environment.

WPD FDPHopefully, as awareness rises, the world’s attitude to resources, in regards to efficiency and recycling is improving but still, with more people comes higher demand for the initial materials. Whether this be food, raw building resources, fuel or water for consumption/hygiene, everyone requires them in some way or another and has the right to access them. But correctly, who has the power to stop accessibility, when around the world, levels of development differ so greatly?

Focussing closer to home here in the UK, with an increase in people, there needs to be an increase in homes available for people to live in. But where do they do it? Where is there space? Yep, our countryside, greenfield sites and green belts…So not only do we demand for the materials to build these houses/flats, but we are eating in to areas where humans haven’t and shouldn’t interfere. Seems such a shame – destroying habitats, cutting down trees and plants because people are wanting bigger better things. Because what comes with increased population – increased wealth. Money, money, money, it’s what everyone strives for and base most decisions around. So as global wealth increases, people’s outlooks are changing. They aren’t being so tight fisted in watching their bills, therefore electricity/water/fuel use are increasing and people are buying more luxuries, to replace technology which is still working perfectly, or requiring bigger homes.

Food waste is another area we could spend a lot of time on. How many times have your eyes been bigger than your belly? Now think if Buffet Pixabayeveryone is like you… that’s a lot of food going to waste. So is the global demand for food actually higher than need be, if we are just wasting so much? Putting strain on the planet, for unnecessary reasons.  Furthermore, where is your food coming from, how many miles has it travelled to be on your plate?

The best way we can look at this, rather than being so negative, because it is great families are growing, technology is developing and wealth is increasing – is to just look at how we can change our attitude. Individually, we need to look at being sustainable, cutting our carbon footprints and recycling what is already available before requiring new materials. This is all over the world, not just here in the UK because as a whole, if approaches change, huge differences could be made to climate change, deforestation and a sustainable planet.

Just some food for thought next time you leave lights on or when you are doing your weekly shop…think of the bigger, expanding picture.

E4environment is an environmental consultancy providing professional, practical advice and expertise to both the private and public sector on a wide range of environmental issues.

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