The world’s consumer class needs to reduce its overconsumption – adjusting its focus from the accumulation of mostly short-lived, flimsy products that enter the waste stream at increasing speeds. Reducing the claim on resources would provide the ecological space needed to allow poor people to escape the deprivations of underconsumption. And considering that overconsumption has led to an obesity epidemic, social isolation, air pollution, traffic, and many other social ills, reducing consumption could have positive impacts on the well-being of the consumer class as well.
I don’t know if I’ll get around to reviewing the report, as it’s a collection by a diverse range of authors, so let me just say that it’s always worth picking it up or downloading The State of the World. The theme for 2012 is ‘moving toward sustainable prosperity’, and it takes a very balanced and broad view, taking in postgrowth perspectives, development and conservation, urban planning and population. It’s also tales a solutions based approach that doesn’t much care for any particular political philosophy, which I always find refreshing.
It’s also worth checking out the Transforming Cultures blog on the WorldWatch site, which is one of my favourites.