|Critical Consumption Trends and Implications - Degrading Earth's Ecosystems (WRI, 1999, 72 pages)|
All too often, discussion of consumption issues and their environmental effects is either polarized or focused exclusively on lifestyle issues. This report takes a different perspective. It argues that production and consumption patterns are integrally linked: that the entire use cycle must be considered if environmental effects are to be understood, potential interventions identified, and effective policy approaches articulated.
Furthermore, this report argues that industrialized and developing countries have many common or overlapping interests in the environmental impacts of present production-consumption patterns. This common interest is especially evident in the examples examined in this report - food, fiber, and fishery products, the major natural resource-based economic sectors.
Finally, this report suggests that the urgency of addressing consumption in this systemic fashion becomes clear when consumption trends are considered. Within a decade, plausible demand forecasts suggest a marked escalation of environmental impacts, if the present production-consumption patterns are not altered.
If we can find common ground for addressing consumption issues, then the opportunities for shared approaches and more rapid action are improved. That at least is our hope.