SERIOUS MONDAY: LITTLE EUROPE HAS A BIG APPETITE!

Europe is home to less than 10% of the world’s total population – but apparently we use more than our fair share of resources.

According to the European Environment Agency, we consume around 15% of the world’s energy – and almost a quarter of all paper produced on the planet!

Speaking at the opening of Green Week in Brussels last week, EEA executive director, Jacqueline McGlade, said: “Europeans have become a society of consumers. Consumption fuels our economy. Shopping for some has become a favourite pastime, even a hobby.”

Professor McGlade said our high – and ever-rising – consumption has a real effect on the environment and ambitious policies are needed to steer Europe in a more sustainable direction. At the moment, any efficiency improvements we do make are often outweighed by rising consumption.

For example, although average fuel consumption per car has dropped by 10 % due to technical improvements since 1990, the overall fuel consumption actually increased by 20 % – mainly because car ownership has increased and people now travel further.

And Prof. McGlade says it is a sad fact of life that many drivers still prefer larger and less fuel-efficient cars.

She added:“Our current consumption and production patterns may well lie behind our material wealth – but they are also responsible for many negative impacts on the environment.

“These impacts are rising and could lead to significant consequences for our planet and humankind if action is not taken to put our consumption and production on a sustainable path

Susan

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