Sustainable economics

Sustainability Insights

Introduction

It is clear that the present rate of consumption of natural resources is unsustainable.

Even so-called ‘renewable resources’ are only renewable at the rate at which they are naturally replenished and there is an overwhelming amount of scientific data to show that the present level of human activity is having a massively deleterious effect on the environment. In particular, greenhouse gas emissions will lead to potentially catastrophic levels of climate change unless urgent action is taken.

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Minerals

Sustainability Insights

Minerals are naturally-occurring substances formed by geological processes. A large proportion of construction materials, and the raw materials for a substantial number of industrial goods, are of geological origin. Minerals in the soil are also essential for the production of food. Gems, such as diamonds, and precious metals, such as gold, are materials of geological origin that are also highly prized as currency media and indicators of status.

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Materials

Sustainability Insights

Raw materials To achieve even a basic standard of living, people need access to a certain amount of various raw materials — as a minimum, sufficient to make tools and clothing, provide shelter and grow food. In industrialized economies, the range and quantity of materials exploited are extensive, and in most cases large amounts of energy are also used in extraction and production processes.

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Energy

Sustainability Insights

Availability of clean renewable energy is a critical issue affecting the future of humanity. It is one of the most significant constraints both on the lifestyles and on the number of people that will be sustainable in generations to come.

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Climate change

Sustainability Insights

Only recently has it been possible directly to measure temperature, rainfall and the other weather variables that make up our climate. H

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18 September 2018

Tanzanian president: “birth control is for the lazy”

President Magufuli was speaking at a rally when he called on people to ignore advice on using birth control as it was coming from “foreigners with sinister motives”.

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9 May 2018

Ending child marriage “morally right, economically smart”

A new report examining the impact of child marriage in Ethiopia has highlighted the many devastating impacts it has on individuals and society. More than one-in-three girls are married below the age of 18 in Ethiopia.

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28 April 2018

Population growth – Global South leaders speak out

Leaders from the Global South speak out about the implications of population growth. Recent reports have indicated rising concern among politicians, experts, and UN officials in the developing world. 

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Hans Rosling
9 April 2018

Population “Factfulness” – where Hans Rosling goes wrong

At Population Matters we commend Hans Rosling as a brilliant communicator and a person dedicated to improving the lives of people across the world. In that spirit, we offer the following facts, which run counter to Prof Rosling’s popular but shakily founded position that population isn’t a problem and future population growth will effectively sort itself out.

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2016 Overshoot Index

Table indicating degree of ecological overshoot of nations, based on Global Footprint Network data

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