‘Our world with 10 billion’

It has been known for a while now that the world population is expected to increase to over 9.7 billion by 2050. To illustrate, this is more than twice as many people as when AEGEE was founded in 1985 and more than triple than when my mom was born in 1964. Can earth provide us with enough natural resources for 9.7 billion people, without dramatically disrupting the biosphere?

Remarkably, people in the Western world consumed almost 50% more in 2000 compared with 1975, and every aspect of modern life in Western cities involves energy nowadays. In other words: we are using more resources per person as the population is increasing. If we keep on consuming more and growing in total numbers, the sad and simple fact is that we will have toxic-air, water, and soil; besides facing global warming. But there’s hope (and a lot of work to be done). Nature is resilient and societies can adapt. A transition to renewable energy, more resource efficiency, and a transition to something other than our consumer economy can make it possible to keep up with the needs of 9.7 billion.

As cultural and societal shifts are crucial for this, the influence of young, educated people such as AEGEEans is key! Except for reconsidering your own lifestyle, AEGEE locals are at the heart of population growth, namely, in cities. As most of the world’s population lives in cities and the percentage is expected to grow to 68% of the world’s population, this is where the transition to renewable energy and sustainable lifestyles must be realised. Here are 7 things you can do in your daily life and in your city:

  • Buy less stuff (instead, spend your money on services & experiences).
  • Choose to buy more sustainable products (use the Sustainable Brand Index, check it out at https://www.sb-index.com).
  • Separate your waste well, if your municipality recycles.
  • Use public transport & avoid flying when possible.
  • Choose your energy company wisely, meaning an energy provider that uses renewable sources such as solar and wind power.
  • Vote for local and national politicians that set sustainability goals.
  • Give workshops on sustainability with your AEGEE local (contact the Society & Environment Interest Group for workshop material at seig@aegee.eu).