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Global resource consumption and security

Infant mortality rate in Africa is still 10 times more than that of Europe Almost half of the world population live on less than two dollars a day One in 3 people globally do not have access to safe drinking water

Unit 3: Global trends in resource consumption

Consumption means using up of a resource.  The word ‘Resource’ denotes anything that has functionality. It could be natural substances like water, wood or supply of skilled workforce.  Geographers are particularly concerned to study the balance between the availability of natural resources, demand and consumption pattern of the resources and the role of technology to unlock resource potential.


Carrying capacity

It signifies the number of people that can live at a high standard of living in any given environment or in any country  in respect to the available resources and technological capabilities.. The concept of  population ceiling was first suggested by Malthus as a saturation level where population equals the supporting capacity of the resource (to him it was food production).


Our Shared Responsibility

Global Consumption of Resources: We are consuming more and more: 

Overshooting of the carrying capacity

Definition of Ecological Footprint: The theoretical measurement of the amount of bio-productive land and water a population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its waste under prevailing technology. Ecological footprints are measured in global hectares (gha).

Ecological Footprint is not evenly distributed across the globe. Calculation of the Gini coefficient for total Ecological Footprint and its components helps to understand the pattern of inequality in overall resource use. According to a study be Dr. Margaret Lowman at New College of Florida, the average ecological footprint for one Chinese citizen calculated in 2006 is 2.0 (meaning that it takes two global acres of resources to sustain each individual). The average footprint in Beijing is 6.2, indicating that urban residents consume more energy than rural dwellers. In contrast, the average ecological footprint of an American is 24. According to the Global Footprint Network (Aug, 2017), humans are using resources that will not be replenished. At some point of time, human ingenuity will come head to head with the rising population and demand through higher crop yields, application of the energy efficient technologies and by developing a sustainable water-food-energy nexus.



Calculate your own ecological footprint using GFN calculator

Click here to view the map of global ecological footprint: Analyze the distribution and find out the reasons behind.

WWF report on ecological footprint :  We would need the regenerative capacity of 1.6 Earths to provide the natural resources and ecological services we currently use.

India’s rising ecological footprint approaching critical limit

China with 1.4 billion people leave smaller footprint than USA


Linking TOK: 

knowledge question: Humanity’s demand on nature has exceeded what our planet can replenish.  Is it justified that India, China and other developing countries to develop faster? – debate on the basis of facts, opinion, ethics and rationalism.

Threats to existance

Plastic Ocean

Food Waste

Poverty: Concept and definition

Poverty is scarcity or the lack of certain amount of material possessions or money that causes deprivation and inequality in terms of access to resources to satisfy even the basic human needs. Nearly half of the world population is still poor and live on 2.50 dollars a day. Nearly half of the world’s poor live in just 5 countries – India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh.

Absolute poverty or destitution: when people are not able to or deprived of satisfying their basic human needs, which commonly includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education.  According to the World Bank, nearly 9% of the world’s population lives in absolute poverty on less than US$1.90 a day,

Relative poverty is defined contextually as the difference in economic capability or in access to services and resources in a particular country or society. It is a comparative approach. When we compare in terms of who is getting what, where and how.


Progress towards poverty reduction

 Since 1990, nearly 1 billion people moved out of poverty: Poverty reduction is a major goal and issue for many international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank. The World Bank estimated that 1.2 billion people were living in absolute poverty in 2008. Of these, about 400 million people in absolute poverty lived in India and 173 million people in China. In terms of percentage of regional populations, sub-Saharan Africa with 47% of the population living in absolute poverty in 2008, recorded the highest incident of poverty. However, since 1990, nearly 1 billion people moved out of poverty.  According to the World Bank, the world attained the first Millennium Development Goal target—to cut the 1990 poverty rate in half by 2015—five years ahead of schedule, in 2010.  In 1990, 1.85 billion people were living in extreme poverty. In 2015,  736 million people lived in extreme poverty with less than $1.90 a day. Two regions, East Asia and Pacific and Europe and Central Asia have already reduced extreme poverty to below 3 percent (2030 target).

Poverty rates have declined in all regions, progress has been uneven: More than half of the extreme poor live in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2030, nearly 9 out of 10 extreme poor will be in Sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of the global poor live in rural areas, are poorly educated, employed in the agricultural sector, and under 18 years of age.

Classwork : Article Review

Refer to World Bank report on poverty, updated in 2018

Article review on Multidimensional poverty in the world: Note down the major 10 points that you have learned.

Poverty in developed country: Who are the poor Americans?


Growth of the New Global Middle Class (NGMG)

Defining the new middle class:

The growing mass of people who no longer experience absolute poverty and is able to meet the basic needs of life.  Not yet achieved the so called affluent lifestyle of the West World  but willing and trying to achieve it. They are mostly left with significant proportion of disposable income and thereby creating an emerging market segment for consumer goods. According to the Brookings study (referred below), a global tipping point has been achieved in the recent times where half of the world is composed of middle class. The new global middle class in China, India and Brazil together have created an equal the size of economy of the industrialized G7 countries. By 2050, they are expected to account for nearly half of world output, far surpassing the G7.


Article Review on NGMC

Brookings study on the expansion of the New Global Middle Class

A global tipping point

The bulging middle class in Asia

Where do the world's most poor people live

Poverty in USA

To locate extremely poor people


What does it mean?

  • Safe collection, storage, treatment and disposal/reuse/recycling of human excreta
  • Management/reuse/recycling of solid wastes (trash or rubbish)
  • Drainage and disposal/reuse/recycling of household waste water (often referred to as grey water)
  • Collection and management of industrial waste products; and management of hazardous wastes (including hospital wastes, and chemical/ radioactive and other dangerous substances)

Importance of sanitation
The discharge of untreated waste water and excreta into the environment can affect human health in several ways

  • Polluted drinking water; 80% of diseases in the developing countries are associated with water, causing 5,000 children to die every day from diarrhea or one every 17 seconds.
  • Entry into the food chain, for example via fruits, vegetables or fish and shellfish.
  • Bathing, recreational and other contact with contaminated waters
  • polluted water bodies are the breeding sites for flies and insects that spread diseases.

WHO and UNICEF recommended improved sanitation system:

  • Flush Toilet – disposes of human liquid and solid waste, by using water to flush it through a drainpipe to another location for disposal.
  • Connection to a piped sewer system- Off-site disposal
  • Connection to a septic system. A septic tank is a key component of the septic system, a small-scale sewage treatment system common in areas with no connection to main sewage pipes provided by local governments or private corporations. This is an on -site disposal
  • Ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine. A pit toilet is a dry toilet system which collects human excrement in a large container and ranges from a simple slit trench to more elaborate systems with ventilation.
  • Waste water treatment

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