Note — Apr 26, 2020

Mass Consumption Is What Ails Us

Contextualizing the virus within our ever expanding footprint, degradation of the planet, and the fact that it is driven not by population growth but by the gangrene of mass consumption.

Human consumption, not population growth, has driven these changes in land use. Over the past 50 years, human populations have doubled, but consumption of the planet’s natural resources has tripled. Traditionally, people living in high-income, industrialized countries consume most of the world’s natural resources. […]

Mass consumption would be impossible without the global bonfire of fossil fuels, which powers the machines that cut down the forests, provides the petrofertilizers for industrial farms, and fuels the airplanes that spread pathogens around the world, just as it thickens the blanket of carbon in the atmosphere. Preventing the next pandemic, then, will be impossible without greener policies.