An introduction to One Planet Living
Sarah Fernandes, Sustainability Officer, Green Office.
The human population's appetite for relentlessly eating away at the Earth's natural riches and resources is growing out of control, says Sarah Fernandes, Sustainability Officer, Green Office.
A report produced by the International Resource Panel, a component of the United Nations Environment Programme, indicated that rising consumption has resulted in resource extraction increasing from 22 billion tons in 1970 to 70 billion tons in 2010. This means the amount of the planet's natural resources extracted for human use has tripled in the last 40 years.
The report warns that further increases in the use of natural resources will result in critical shortages of materials and an increase in the risk of human conflict.
Focusing on biodiversity, the WWF's Living Planet Report for 2018 concluded that there has been an alarming 60% decline in the size populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians in just over 40 years. The top threats to species identified in the report include habitat loss and degradation, and the excessive use of wildlife such as overfishing and overhunting.
We have only one planet, but are consuming resources like we have multiple planets with infinite resources. For our planet to survive, we have to curb our insatiable consumption of natural resources, but the question is: how? One Planet Living is a framework created by Bioregional and developed with the WWF, which aims to help us live happy and healthy lives, but, more importantly, within the means of the planet.
The framework is based on 10 One Planet Principles, which are linked to the Global Sustainable Development Goals, which we can use to create holistic solutions to our consumption problem:
Health and happiness: Encouraging active, social, meaningful lives to promote good health and well-being.
Equity and local economy: Creating safe, equitable places to live and work, which support local prosperity and international fair trade.
Culture and community: Nurturing local identity and heritage, empowering communities and promoting a culture of sustainable living.
Land and nature: Protecting and restoring land and marine systems for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Sustainable water: Using water efficiently, protecting local water resources and reducing flooding and drought.
Local and sustainable food: Promoting sustainable, humane farming and healthy diets, which are high in local, seasonal, organic food and vegetable protein.
Travel and transport: Reducing the need to travel, encouraging walking, cycling and low-carbon footprint.
Materials and products: Using materials from sustainable sources and promoting products that help people reduce consumption.
Zero waste: Reducing consumption, re-using and recycling to achieve zero waste and zero pollution.
Zero carbon energy: Making buildings energy efficient and supplying all energy with renewables.
In 2019, Green Office will be aligning its environmental strategy with the One Planet Living Principles. By writing a One Planet Plan, the company will be able to set realistic and measurable targets to improve its environmental performance, while ensuring its business aligns with the concept of sustainable development. Be sure to look out for the Green Office One Planet Living Plan in early 2019!
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