The average North American
consumes five times more than a Mexican, ten times more than a Chinese person,
and thirty times more than a person from India.
We are the most voracious consumers in the world... a world that could die because of the way we North Americans live.
Give it a rest!
November 29th is Buy Nothing Day.
Today's consumption is undermining the environmental resource base. It is exacerbating inequalities. And the dynamics of the consumption-poverty-inequality-environment nexus are accelerating. If the trends continue without change - not redistributing from high-income to low-income consumers, not shifting from polluting to cleaner goods and production technologies, not promoting goods that empower poor producers, not shifting priority from consumption for conspicuous display to meeting basic needs - today's problems of consumption and human development will worsen.
... The real issue is not consumption itself but its patterns and effects.
... Inequalities in consumption are stark. Globally, the 20% of the world's people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures - the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%. More specifically, the richest fifth:
Runaway growth in consumption in the past 50 years is putting strains on the environment never before seen.
(Emphasis Added) -- Human Development Report 1998 Overview, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)