We all want a world where we are surrounded by a beautiful environment. However, with the way we humans are conducting our activities, consuming earth resources and destroying our nature, will we able to afford such a setting in the future? In this blog, we will explore how SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production plays a vital role in achieving this future.
What is Sustainable Consumption And Production?
There are some key factors which we all need to consider with regards to sustainable consumption and production:
- Environmentally friendly
- Socially responsible
- Economically viable
Therefore, we can say that sustainable consumption and production means the utilization of energy and resource efficiency so that we can all have a better quality of life. It ensures that people, planet and profit are all positively impacted in the long run.
Challenges in Achieving SDG 12 Responsible Consumption And Production
1. Unsustainable Consumption Patterns
Our world cities only occupy 3% of the Earth’s land but still account for 60-80% of energy consumption and 75% of carbon consumption. This is largely the result of un-planned development, with more focus given to economic development and less focus is given to environmental development. If this is what responsible consumption is going to be in a developed world, we all will face serious repercussions. For a sustainable future, we need to consume and utilize resources in an efficient manner.
2. Exploitation of Natural Resources
If deforestation became a country, it would win the bronze medal in global carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e). Everyone knows how precious forests are, they provide immeasurable value to us. Nearly 1.6 billion people directly depend on its resources for their livelihoods. Forests are our greatest asset to combat climate change, reduce poverty levels, solve world hunger problems and countless other sustainable development goals. However, we are doing nothing to preserve this precious natural resource. Forest is losing 500 trees every second and they are home to nearly 80% of animal and plant species on earth.
On the other hand, about 70% of fresh water is consumed in agriculture and if we do not manage our water efficiently, water scarcity will become a serious threat. As many say world war III can happen for water.
3. Plastic Waste Generation
50 billion tons worth of plastic will be manufactured by the year 2050. Most of these plastics are single-use plastics. In 2016, the world generated about 242 million tonnes of plastic waste and is expected to go up to 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050. World banks estimate that overall waste generation could go up to 70% and currently, only 13.5 % is recycled. All this plastic waste is choking our animals and polluting our environment. If no action is taken to tackle plastic pollution, everything we touch will turn into plastic.
4. Energy Consumption
Coal power plants emit a lot of harmful gases and pollute our environment. There are many alternative green energy solutions available. However, they have some limitations. For example, solar energy can only be harnessed during sunlight or wind energy requires a good velocity of consistent wind. Regardless, the shift to renewable energy is needed. For comparison, to produce 1 unit of electricity, solar panels produce 50 times less greenhouse gas emissions than coal power plants.
Act Now for Responsible Consumption and Production
To achieve the SDG goal 12 responsible consumption and production, a lot more effort is needed from all of us. We are also animals who co-exist with nature. Therefore, we need to respect our environment and understand our responsibilities as sustainable citizens. Do we want our next generation of children to fight a war for water or face serious health problems because the air they breathe is too toxic? No. However, it is not too late to save our planet. If we act now and start consuming and producing resources more responsibly, our future generation will have a beautiful planet to live in.
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