Group of young activist for climate action

Facts and Figures

We can all live sustainably and help build a better world for everyone. But this means taking a look at how we live and understanding how our lifestyle choices impact the world around us. We make hundreds of thousands of decisions during the course of our lives. The choices we make and the lifestyles we live have a profound impact on our planet.

In nature, there is no such thing as garbage. Everything in nature is reused or recycled. But we live in a throwaway society. We use something once, and then it’s garbage, ending up in landfills or in our oceans, lakes and rivers. And the wasted energy contributes to air pollution and climate change.

 

Current lifestyles are unsustainable

 

Demand for natural resources is at an all-time high and continues to grow -- for food, clothing, water, housing, infrastructure and other aspects of life. Resource extraction has more than tripled since 1970, including a 45% increase in fossil fuel use.

The extraction and processing of materials, fuels and food contribute half of total global greenhouse gas emissions and over 90% of biodiversity loss and water stress.

If the global population continues to grow as predicted, reaching 9.6 billion by 2050, it could require the equivalent of almost three planets to provide the natural resources needed to sustain current lifestyles.

In high-income countries, the material footprint per capita – the amount of primary materials needed to meet our needs -- is more than 10 times larger than in low-income countries. And the Group of 20 major economies (G20) accounts for 78% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

 

  Use the UN carbon footprint calculator to find out how much greenhouse gas emissions you contribute through your daily activities, such as using electricity, driving a car, or disposing of waste.

 

 

 

sdgs wheel

The Sustainable Development Goals include targets (4.7 and 12.8) to ensure that, by 2030, people everywhere have the relevant information, education and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature.

Here’s where every one of us can make a difference