Humans Living In Harmony With Nature

2306 words - 9 pages

There is no better example of humans’ relationship to nature than idea of sustainable development. It is imperative that we develop in a sustainable manner if we wish to live in harmony with nature. Unfortunately, we have been developing in the opposite direction. For many years the west has been able to get away with using more than their fair share of resources because the less developed nations don’t have the technology to utilize these resources for themselves. If this trend continues it poses a serious problem to global sustainability. Rapid development in nations like India and China have pushed their resource consumption levels up, closing the gap between third and first world. With such a high rate of consumption in the developed countries, there is not much room for the third world to develop without depleting our resources to unsustainable levels. The entire world cannot live the same wasteful life enjoyed by the many developed countries. If nothing is done, the south will catch up to the western level of consumption and we will no longer be able to sustain life for generations to come. After researching this issue it is apparent that the best solution is to develop the west to a level of sustainability that is universally applicable and allows the less developed nations to eventually live the same lifestyle as the west without compromising the livelihood of future generations. This essay will go on to explain how the western way of life is not a viable option for everyone to live by and how developing nations are in fact already following the path of these western nations.
The Western Ways
The alarming rate of consumption in the west does not get the attention it deserves. With 22 percent of the world’s population living off of less than $1 a day , there is a feeling that there are plenty of resources to go around and conservation is not necessary. This near-universal feeling in western nations brings forth the obscene level of consumption. In no way, shape or form is the western lifestyle a viable or legitimate option of living in the future. Americans, who only make up about 5% of the worlds population, use 24% of the total energy used globally2. If both India and china consumed at that rate the three nations would use twice as much energy as the entire world uses now2. Another alarming statistic is the ecological footprint of the United States. The Global Footprint Network defines ecological footprint as "a resource management tool that measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes under prevailing technology."3 Thus, a country’s ecological footprint equals the earth’s surface area required to produce the resources consumed by its population and to assimilate the waste generated by its population, over the course of a year. Global footprint Network calculated that in 2003 Iraq had a per capita ecological footprint of 2.5 acres, the UK had a...

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