Over the past three decades, all the countries on the planet have overconsumed natural resources, while none of them has been able to meet the basic needs of its inhabitants, according to researchers at the University of Leeds, UK.
In an article published in the journal Sustainability of nature, the researchers warned that without immediate changes, economies around the world would continue to contribute to ecological degradation, while not sufficiently improving living standards.
The researchers tracked the progress made by 148 countries in meeting basic needs and meeting environmental limits since the early 1990s. Based on recent trends, the researchers also generated projections to 2050.
Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that despite exploiting the planet’s natural resources beyond limits, wealthy countries like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have not been able to achieve significant social gains in recent decades.
In contrast, the poorest countries, mainly in the east, such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malawi and many others have contributed very little to the ecological degradation of the planet by respecting environmental borders. However, these countries have also been unable to meet the basic needs of their residents.
“Most countries are closer to meeting the basic needs of their residents than they were 30 years ago – which is good news – although significant gaps remain, especially for collective goals such as that equality and democratic quality, ”Andrew Fanning, lead author of the article, and a researcher from the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds, said in a press release.
The bad news is that the number of countries consuming too many resources is increasing, especially in carbon dioxide emissions and the use of materials. Worryingly, we have found that countries tend to overstep fair planetary borders faster than they meet minimum social thresholds. “
The full analysis, including country-level conclusions on environmental and social performance, can be found on an interactive website here.
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