In a new study an international team of scientists from the Earth Commission investigates the Earth system impacts of escaping poverty and achieving a dignified life for all.
Key messages from the study:
- Redistributing resources and transforming society are key to ensuring universal access to basic needs while staying within Earth’s limits.
- These transformations include redistribution and improvements to water, food, infrastructure and energy provisioning systems.
- The analysis also showed that these pressures, arising from the poorest third of humanity achieving adequate resource access, equalled the pressures caused by the wealthiest 1-4%.
- The paper provides scientific evidence for concluding that in order to achieve societal and environmental goals, it is the wealthy (who appropriate the bulk of Earth’s resources and ecosystems – not those escaping poverty) who need to undergo transformative change.
- The authors therefore link the ‘Great Acceleration’ of rapid increases in human-driven environmental impacts with a ‘Great Inequality’
Lead author, Crelis Rammelt, Environmental Geography and Development Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Earth Commission expert says; “Our research is important because many people assume that meeting the needs of the poorest is possible without major redistributions and transformations in society.”
The research was inspired by discussions on potential trade-offs between achieving social and environmental goals.
The study and press release
The study is published in the journal Nature Sustainability