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“Over-consumption leads to degradation and extinction”
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“Over-consumption leads to degradation and extinction”

China, the USA, Japan and India should be held accountable for consuming most of the world’s finite resources. But young people around the world can also take responsibility for eliminating over-consumption, writes Meeckel Beecher, a 24-year-old Commonwealth Correspondent from Jamaica.

No, I am not about to use the mega phone and bellow, the world is ending!

Nor am I about to make you relive the movie 2012 – rest assured this is not an apocalyptic message. I am however going to say over-consumption is a problem for the environment and we must address it.

The environment has finite resources and our duty is to protect its diversity, vitality, sustainability and beauty.

Over-consumption is a situation where resource use has outpaced the sustainable capacity of the ecosystem.

The Earth Charter states that there exist a large group of people who binge on consumption of the world’s resources, and this has the possibility of causing massive harm to ecosystems and other people. It says the world is divided in 3 classes, the over-consuming class that exceeds its environmental space but meets its human needs, the sustainable classthat both meets basic human needs and maintains an ecological balance and the struggling class that lives within its environmental space, but does not meet its human needs.

Considering the patterns of consumption, it will inevitably lead to environmental degradation which will result in the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of species. It is therefore important that humans as individuals andcommunities recognize their responsibilities to solve this problem. Let us aim to be a part of the sustainable class by shifting outlook and value attitudes.

If we are serious about the environment, we must consider our ecological footprint. Ecological footprint refers to the framework for measuring human demand on the biosphere. A recent study by Mathis Wackernagel has shown that the global ecological footprint was in overshoot by .4 global hectares per person, or roughly 23%.

Statistics from the World Watch shows that China, the USA, Japan and India are the main over consumers in the world. It is important that these countries are held accountable for their actions and we start an agenda to drastically reduce and eventually eliminating over-consumption.

Until there is a global partnership that is serious about reducing over-consumption, as youth we can start by making a difference and adopt sustainable lives by:

  1. Using cleaner transportation
  2. Adopting energy-saving habits
  3. Eating more local, organic, in-season foods.
  4. Choosing sustainable building materials, furnishings, and cleaning products
  5. Adopting water-saving habits
  6. Recycling all our paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic. Don’t forget electronics!
  7. Buying recycled products, particularly those labeled “post-consumer waste
  8. Buying less and replacing items only when it really needed to replaced

Let us all live in unison with the environment.

For more information and to check your ecological foot-print go to:



Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/



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