Scientists' warning against the society of waste | - CCMAR -

Journal Article

TítuloScientists' warning against the society of waste
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsBeltrán, IMarín, Demaria, F, Ofelio, C, Serra, LM, Turiel, A, Ripple, WJ, Mukul, SA, Costa, MClara
Year of Publication2022
JournalScience of The Total Environment

The metabolism of contemporary industrialized societies, that is their energy and material flows, leads to the

overconsumption andwaste of natural resources, two factors often disregarded in the global ecological equation.

In this Discussion article, we examine the amount of natural resources that is increasingly being consumed and

wasted by humanity, and propose solutions to reverse this pattern. Since the beginning of the 20th century, societies,

especially from industrialized countries, have been wasting resources in different ways. On one hand, the

metabolism of industrial societies relies on non-renewable resources. On the other hand, yearly, we directly

waste or mismanage around 78% of the totalwater withdrawn, 49% of the food produced, 31% of the energy produced,

85% of ores and 26% of non-metallic minerals extracted, respectively. As a consequence, natural resources

are getting depleted and ecosystems polluted, leading to irreversible environmental changes, biological loss and

social conflicts. To reduce the anthropogenic footprint in the planet, and live in harmony with other species and

ourselves, we suggest to shift the current economic model based on infinite growth and reduce inequality

between and within countries, following a degrowth strategy in industrialized countries. Public education to 

reduce superfluous consumption is also necessary. In addition, we propose a set of technological strategies to

improve the management of natural resources towards circular economies that, like ecosystems, rely only

upon renewable resources.