Global population growth requires us to transform the economic system
The world population is growing and is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. All these people need food and other resources to live a decent life. With the existing linear economy, the equivalent of almost three planets would be required to provide all the natural resources to sustain current lifestyles. This would lead to further exploitation of land and marine ecosystems. Continued agricultural expansion would result in yet more deforestation, leading to erosion, flooding, and other negative impacts. Satellite images show that every second, approximately one football field of forest is lost globally.
But we all know resources are not infinite. While we need to provide nutritious food, sufficient resources and safe water for everyone, we also know that further agricultural expansion will lead to more soil degradation, freshwater pollution and biodiversity loss. We, therefore, need a system change to how we produce and manufacture foods and goods.
Circular economy and certified agriculture to conserve nature
The main challenges revolve around uncontrolled and unmanaged land-use change and resource extraction. These can only be averted by applying sustainable resource management. #CertifiedForests, #CertifiedRawMaterials and #CertifiedFood help ensure that the methods used to extract food or timber and other natural products, such as cotton or palm oil, do not compromise the very basis they are growing on.
Of course, #Organic or #GoVegan do their part as well. Fisheries must follow regulations so that they do not extract complete stocks but allow rejuvenation. Later, #CircularEconomy ensures that once resources are extracted, they are not wasted. By designing products initially for reuse and recycling, we can save vast amounts of energy, water and other resources. Beyond direct resource management and circular economy, it is also essential to achieve #NoPollution by avoiding over fertilisation or preventing plastics from reaching the oceans. Lastly, #SustainableFinance ensures appropriate schemes for #ConservationNow.
Promoting sustainable consumption within the planetary boundaries
The radiTheme “Healthy Ecosystems” revolves around sustainable consumption and production patterns (SDG 12), the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and their resources (SDG 14), as well as the protection, restoration and promotion of sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG 15). Through certified agriculture, sustainable resource extraction and circular economy approach, we can achieve all the targets above. If all goes to plan, this would not only reverse biodiversity loss but also increase biodiversity and lead to resilient, healthy ecosystems.