A joint research team of British, Spanish and Austrian scientists was able to conclude that over the past 30 years, no country has met the basic needs of its residents at a globally sustainable level of resource use, which may cause environmental disasters in just 3 decades.
To reach these findings, which were published in the journal Nature Sustainability on November 18, the team studied two basic components – meeting basic needs and respecting environmental boundaries – in 148 countries around the world, each with a population More than a million individuals, from 1992 until now, and through that study built projections until 2050.
The richest and the poorest
According to the study, rich countries – such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada – have clearly crossed the red lines associated with climate and ecological collapse, while making small social gains.
On the other hand, the study found that the poorest countries – such as: Bangladesh, Malawi and Sri Lanka – did not cross the red lines, but still fell short in meeting the basic social needs of people.
According to the initiative launched by the British University of Leeds based on this new study, the contemporary world needs to abandon the pursuit of economic growth as a national goal, and instead pursue policies that improve human well-being and reduce the use of resources.
The study is primarily based on the theory of the global economist Kate Raworth, based on the development of the economy in the context of a safe and just system.
This theory sees that there are two types of pressures facing every country: The first type is social pressures, and it includes things such as managing education, justice, energy, water, food and health …
The second type includes pressures on the planet, things like chemical pollution, biodiversity loss, carbon dioxide emissions and ocean acidification.
And if countries only adhere to the first type of pressure without considering the second type, then they – and the planet as a whole – are on a very dangerous path.
The study confirms this, as it found that most countries were already closer to providing the basic needs of their population than they were 30 years ago, but on the other hand it appeared that the number of countries that over-consume resources is increasing, especially with regard to carbon dioxide emissions, the gas that raises global warming.
The study researchers hope that this type of new criteria will be transformed into policies based on which governments are chosen, and if the countries of the world continue to act in a manner that seeks only to ensure continued high economic growth, the environmental deficit and the global resource deficit will begin to enter into dangerous stages within 3 decades from now.