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Per Capita consumption

School of Environment
Course Code
Mairi Mac Donald

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Thursday, January 27, 2011
Prof. MacDonald
Trends in consumption
difficult to get data
it is not seen as a significant issue in any discipline
population is recognized as a problem, in a number of countries. Consumption is not really
seen as a problem
spatial distribution
2nd chapter on Durning reading
there has been at least doubling in consumption per capita
we have available to each of us at least twice of all materials and resources
US: the car population is almost that of people!
we see the same trend of rapid acceleration in a very short period of time
same trend of consumption in the south but we need to break it down
China or India: are becoming rapidly industrialized
takes far more energy to feed grain to animals and then feed to ourselves than to eat the grain
animal protein: will become in demand in the south as they try to compete with the north
Why do we consume?
consumerism allocated as a value
we often define ourselves as consumers
term is very new (maybe the last 50 years)
it has very different connotations to the concept of the “citizen”
to refer to ourselves proudly as consumers seems
indicative as a change in values
prof: unfortunate
we now live and die by the state of the economy
the economy is the most important thing
per capita consumption is seen as a problem if we dont have the means to consume
2008: governments worried about a lack of consumer power - means that in the last few
years we have taken ourselves from a position of what we want to do vs what we should do
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