American Wastefulness

It is a well-known fact that Americans consume so far most of the natural resources and they live less sustainably than people from other large countries across the globe. A report from Sierra Club’s Dave Tilford states that a child born in the U.S is likely to create thirteen times more ecological damage in his or her lifetime as compared to a child born in Brazil.   It also says that an average American drains as many resources as 35 residents in India and consumes 53 times more goods and services than a native of China. Tilford also cites statistics showing how Americans have been using and abusing natural resources. An example between the years 1990 and 1989, the population tripled while the use of raw material increased by a factor of 17. With less than five percent of the globe’s population, it uses a third of the world’s paper, 23 percent of coal, 19 percent of copper, 27 percent of Aluminum and a quarter of the world’s oil. He also states that America’s use of metals, minerals, forest products, energy, food products and fresh water also dwarfs that of persons living in developing worlds. U.S is ranked among the highest consumer in the various categories. Its fossil fuel consumption is double that of a resident in Great Britain and two and a half times for a native in Japan. In terms of creation of the world’s global waste, America creates half of it yet Americans account for only five percent of the globe’s total population. Many Americans prefer use of private automobile rather than public transportation. Statistics show that compared to a country like China, very few Americans walk or use bikes to their destinations. As China becomes the world’s leader in consumption of commodities like copper, U.S. remains the per capita leader in consumption of most resources.

U.S. is the only industrialized country that is still experiencing a significant growth of population, meaning that the high rate of resource consumption is expected to increase. Hence in the next 30 years, it will have a significant impact on the country’s resources. In the case of the use of fossil fuels, America heavily relies on fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. The dependence is quite costly to everyday citizens since a lot of money is used in importing fossil fuels and this will have a negative impact on the country’s economy.  Burning of fossil fuels causes damage to the environment, causing an increase in air and water pollution. It will increase global warming which will have an inflict on other factors like decreasing rainfalls and rise in temperature that can combine to cause massive and extended drought conditions in some regions. There will be a negative impact on peoples’ health due to increased heat- related diseases and vector-borne diseases.

To reduce wastage of natural resources, the federal government, together with the states, must take action to reduce the wastage. For the case of fossil fuels, the government can propose the production and use of clean energy which never runs out. Since the U.S has this ability to produce it, it will help the citizens to use energy more efficiently. The government should also reduce the nation’s global warming pollutant emissions so as to reduce the hazardous impacts of global warming. It can also develop a clean transportation infrastructure so as to improve fuel economy of vehicles, and reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuel.