Statement to the
U.N. Conference on
Environment & Development
It is claimed that one of the causes of environmental degradation is the size of the population of some developing countries. We dispute this assumption.
However, we note that rich developed communities tend to have low birth rates. If we want to reduce population growth then we must help poor communities to become developed. Yet we hear from the rich, proposals which would result in stopping the development of poor countries in order to reduce population. You may be able to reduce pollution but you will end up with massive overpopulation in the poorest developing countries.
We know that the 25 per cent of the world population who are rich consume 85 per cent of its wealth and produce 90 per cent of its waste. Mathematically speaking, if the rich reduce their wasteful consumption by 25 per cent, worldwide pollution will be reduced by 22.5 per cent. But if the poor 75 per cent reduce consumption totally and disappear from this earth altogether the reduction in pollution will only be by 10 per cent.
It is what the rich do that counts, not what the poor do, however much they do it. That is why it is imperative that the rich change their life-styles. A change in the life-styles of the poor only, apart from being unfair, is quite unproductive environment-wise. But the rich talk of the sovereignty of the consumers and their____________________