peoples agenda 21, social and economic factors, economics and sustainability

Sustainable Consumption Patterns

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Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated. While poverty results in certain kinds of environmental stresses, the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which is a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and other imbalances. Exacerbating this problem is the privatization of resources, or “resource hoarding” and privatization of methods of production.


  • Sustainable consumption
  • Improving natural resource capital and efficiency
  • Reduction of energy consumption
  • Reduction of waste production

People's Agenda 21, Ideas for the betterment of humanity, serving the highest good of all


The current economic model runs on extreme speed of consumption at the cost of human and environmental health. A move to sustainable consumption can be done by de-emphasizing concentrations on consumption, private ownership, and other traditional models, that have tended to block access to necessary resources, and thereby; adequately shut out large segments of humanity who lack the means to purpose basic goods to sustain their livelihood.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • Assist individuals and households interested in making environmentally sound purchasing decisions, greater efficiency in the use of energy and resources, and minimizing and re-purposing of wastes
  • Transition to more sustainable infrastructure through the exploration of alternative options for production, ownership and consumption


People have awakened to the reality that it is now possible to efficiently use our natural resource capital in a way that is renewable, thus creating more resources and goods available while putting in less labor and time to get them. Such methods are consistent with goals of minimizing, and eventually eliminating, depletion of natural resources, environmental stress, waste, and pollution.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • To promote patterns of consumption and production that reduce environmental stress while abundantly supplying the needs of humanity
  • To develop a better understanding of the role of consumption and to model how to bring about more sustainable consumption patterns
  • To promote open source sharing of information and to “open source” resources to promote easier formation of local economies and communities in achieving sustainable consumption patterns in their own development process
  • Vote with your money. Buy products that reflect good sustainable practices, environmental consciousness, and non-exploitation of workers and land
  • Developing new concepts of sustainable economic growth and prosperity which allow higher standards of living through changed lifestyles and are less dependent on the Earth’s finite resources and more in harmony with the Earth’s carrying capacity and ability to renew resources through natural, cyclical processes which humans can now re-create through new, creative and imaginative methods. Ultimately evolving new technologies that can be utilized in the evolution of new sustainable systems, purposed for implementation in all applicable areas of life, both economic and personal


Progress can be made by strengthening and organizing positive trends and directions that are emerging as part of a process aimed at achieving significant changes in the consumption patterns of industries, households and individuals in regards to energy use. The key is reducing the amount of energy and materials used both individually and in the production of goods and services as a foundation for decreased expenses and greater economic and industrial productivity and competitiveness.

Ideas for those interested in implementation

  • Encouraging the dissemination and open-source sharing of existing environmentally sound technologies
  • Promoting research and development in environmentally sound technologies
  • Assisting developing countries to use these technologies efficiently and to develop technologies suited to their particular circumstances
  • Encouraging the environmentally sound use of new and renewable sources of energy
  • Encouraging the environmentally sound and sustainable use of renewable natural resources


The amount of waste currently generated by the population of our planet is not sustainable. Individuals and communities, together with industry, can benefit by making a concerted effort to reduce the generation of wastes and waste products by:

  • Encouraging and participating in recycling in industrial processes and at the consumed level
  • Encouraging the introduction of more environmentally sound products through purchasing decisions
  • Reducing wasteful packaging of products and encouraging implementation of new, sustainable methods of packaging

The recent emergence in many countries of a more environmentally conscious consumer public, combined with increased interest on the part of some industries in providing environmentally sound consumer products, is a significant development that would be beneficial to encourage. One way to do this is to continue to promote conscious and active development of an emerging, informed consumer public through education, public awareness programs and consumer-driven and innovative product promotion, recycling programs, and repurposing of waste and packaging.

People's Agenda 21, Ideas for the betterment of humanity, serving the highest good of all