Consumption! World Issues 120
Consumption 3 Major factors causing a dramatic increase in consumption since WWII: • Dramatic advances in technology • A rise in western earningpotential & purchasing power • Cheaper imported material goods in relation to buying power
5 influences catalyzing a rise in consumption • Western shopping culture • Government policies creating incentives to a high consumer state • Expansion of world markets • Social status associated with wealth • Advertising availability & its power to influence
In-class activity Take 5 minutes and write down EVERY SINGLE THING you bought on Saturday & share this with a partner Example: Carmen’s – breakfast, $7.25 Tournament program- $1.00 50/50 draw- $2.00 Coffee – Tim’s, $3.50 Gas –$40.00 Lunch – Subway, $11.00 Grocery store – groceries for supper $22.50 Haircut for Rogan- $18.00+ $4.00 tip Newspaper- $1.25 Videos- Jumbo $15.00 Snacks- $8.00 Total: $135!!!!
Who consumes the most? The developing world has… 75% of the world’s people 15% of world energy consumption 17% of the world’s GNP 30% of the world’s food grains 11% of world education spending 18% of world export earnings 8% of world industry 5% of world science & technology
In class assignment / homework Read the article “Enough is enough” and answer the questions
North America… North American views… North Americans have been heavily polled on energy conservation since the 1970s. The overwhelming majority of Americans have been in favor of promoting conservative viewpoints. This was evident in the number of media insurgencies related to alternate sources of energy. There were also specific moves made by companies to appear more efficient in actual product and in style. It is still relatively fashionable to be an outdoorsman or self-sufficient style person.
North American actions However, consumption of energy rose ten-fold from the 70s to the 90s. The rise in individual wealth of western nations led to an increase in individual buying power. North Americans tend to get upset with increases in costs for goods. Therefore, the necessity of lowering ones standard or living for the environment has been unsuccessful. Many people will donate their time towards a cause in protest, but will do little to change their ways if it incurs extra costs, or means that they will have to go without some items they have become accustomed to living with.
North American demands This increased buying power is directly transferred to the consumption of non-renewable resources and energy. It is also directly related to FREEDOM. Today it is even worse. Consumption levels have continued to increase as seen by: SUVs (& number of vehicles) , power toys, automatic devices, recreational activities, disposable items, selection of purchasable goods, quality of demands of service
North Americans continue to demand more value for their dollar at the expense of using cheaper, non-renewable products. They are also concerned about the freedom of choice. It is felt that any restrictions on their way of life is directly juxtaposed to their FREEDOM as citizens.
What makes oil the ‘drink’ of choice? In order to be commercially useful, energy must be in a form that is: • Easily convertible to the forms of energy desired by consumers • Easily & economically stored or transported to the customers. The only forms of energy currently satisfying these requirements are electrical energy & chemical energy.
Energy in a chemical (oil, gas or coal), nuclear or hydro form is converted in a power plant to electricity. This electrical energy is then transported via conducting wires to our homes and factories where it is converted into other forms by electrical appliances. Fuels are transported in chemical form by ships, trucks and pipelines. Their chemical energy is then converted to heat energy by combustion.
Of the many forms of “natural energy” available on earth, only a few are readily convertible into “commercial energy.” Most important of these are: • Fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) • Hydro-electric energy • Nuclear energy
BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2006 Peter Davies’, Chief Economist, presents the key dimensions of the global energy market in 2005 as reflected in the data published in the BP Statistical Review of World Energy. http://www.bp.com/productlanding.do?categoryId=6842&contentId=7021390
In-class assignment / homework One half of the class will read “Power Politics,” while the other half reads “Life After Oil.” The teams will then write up questions/answers about each article, and give them to other team. The other team will then answer the questions.
6 Basic Elements Needed to Reduce Consumption • Crisis An energy crisis of sorts would be a catalyst in getting North Americans to begin accepting lower consumption restrictions. • Incentives It is felt that savings made on energy consumption should be returned to the consumer.
3. Better Public Planning Restrictions or guidelines stipulating the need for access to public transit and/or low consumption services could easily be made to developers and planners. 4. Stringent Government Regulations Government regulations need to be in line with reduction incentives. If no regulations accompany these endeavors, there is a lack of commitment on the part of both consumers and producers.
5. More Efficient Materials There are many forms of technology available today to run materials more efficiently (i.e. cars, cooling units, building products), however, they are more expensive. 6. Research and Development of More Recycled Products Due to the inexpensive availability of both building materials and products, it becomes cheaper to throw away than reuse or reform products.
Zero-Waste Initiatives Zero-waste initiatives are the latest trend in the corporate world. In essence, they are based on the reduction of waste both at the production and consumption levels. There are several advantages to both the environment and the corporate body.
Environment • Reduces personal waste from employees • Encourages the use of recycled products. • Lessens the strain on waste disposal methods. • Decreases the overall consumption of raw resources.
Corporate Body • Fewer employees needed to take care of waste. • Less storage needed to house waste. • Reduction in transportation needs to transport waste. • Decrease in the cost of production. • Decrease in the total supply needs. • Return on investment with the recycling of wastes (more money per gram of product). • Reduced cost of production (less packaging). • Healthier public image.