Policy Forum

Consumption: Challenge to Sustainable Development …

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Science  04 Apr 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5309, pp. 53-55
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5309.53

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Consumption cannot persist in its present patterns and forms. This is apparent with respect to, for example, the many consumer products dependent on artificially cheap fossil-fuel energy, which is the single largest source of global warming. There are many ways to shift consumption toward less resource-intensive and polluting types, hence to constrain it rather than restrain it. Moreover, this will often lead to increased quality of life. The way ahead can be illuminated by a clearer scientific understanding of what drives consumption.