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One of the hardest things is to ensure a sustainable life for the six billion people on the Earth, and the 78 million who join us every year. If we can control birth rates, scientists predict that our numbers will reach about nine billion by 2050. However, unchecked, world population could rise to 27 billion! At present consumption rates, this would put our world’s resources under enormous pressure.
click picture to enlarge

Ali Abbas Panju, Kenya

The richest countries of the world, called “developed countries”, have 20% of the world’s population but they use 60% of the world’s energy resources. Economics are driven by the choices people make and the values they hold. To decrease consumption, we will have to change our behaviour and our belief that more is better.


Some of the international agreements, like the Montreal Protocol (to stop the hole in the ozone layer from widening) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna (CITES) are really working, and some environmental problems are receding. But we have to move faster, invest in saving the environment and create new institutions to work on it!


The political power of national governments is decreasing. This is a result of globalisation. Countries are dominated by what is best for trade and the pursuit of money, not what is best for communities and the environment. GEO-2000 suggests we need a new approach to governance that will protect the Earth and its inhabitants. In all countries, 20 to 45% of national income is given by citizens to central government for security and state services. The United Nations is given practically nothing to provide those services globally. A global tax on tourism or currency exchange would raise money to help save our environment and ensure only those who can afford to pay are taxed.


Education is vital. Those of us who know what is happening to the world around us are determined to do something about it. Knowledge is power and the six billion pilots of this spaceship need that knowledge NOW! That is the purpose of GEO. It is why we wrote this book. So – enjoy it! Use it! Act upon it!

web site editor: webmaster@grida.no Last update: March 2000