The birth of one Filipino baby got a lot of attention this week. According to the United Nations, Danica May Camacho is the planet’s 7 billionth person.
In Manila, Danica’s parents celebrated with cake and with the bevy of photographers taking the newborn’s picture for the world’s media.
But most reports about the world reaching this population milestone were anything but celebratory. As one Rockefeller University demographer told CBS News, rapid population growth, “makes almost every other problem more difficult to solve.”
Among other things, the worry is that more people means more consumers which, in turn, means more “stuff” and, therefore, more waste.
Or does it?
A report just out in the United Kingdom, however, claims that the Brits are now consuming fewer resources and producing less waste than they were 10 years ago.
Environment writer Chris Goodall is described by the Guardian as “probably the only Green Party parliamentary candidate who also used to work at [the management consulting firm] McKinsey.”
It was by chance that Goodall came across the official data that tracks British consumption of everything from cars and water to meat and flat pack furniture. As Duncan Clark, the Guardian journalist, writes, “what really surprised him was that consumption appears to have started dropping in the first years of the new millennium, when the economy was still rapidly growing.”
Of course there are counter-arguments – like the fact that China is doing more and more of the world’s consuming.
But could Goodall’s analysis suggest that economic growth can actually help us reduce our consumption of stuff?
Have a read of this thought provoking article and see what you think.