According to the United Nations Population Fund, the world ushered in its 7 billionth person this past week, a more than doubling of global population in just half a century. And we are on a trajectory to reach 9 billion by the middle of this century.
More people means greater demand for food, fresh water, fossil fuel, trees, and other scarce resources. With rising incomes and shifting diets, consumption per person is also expected to increase significantly. Many are concerned about resource depletion and environmental degradation in today’s world. In just a few decades our impact on the environment and its resources could easily be 5 or 6 times greater, if not more.
One unique aspect of the TFT model is that it takes excess resources on one end to solve a shortage on the other. It doesn’t divert valuable resources from other worthwhile interventions.
The world needs more creative systems like this. Can something similar be done with water? Traveling between the United States and countries in sub-Saharan Africa I can’t but notice the wasteful use of water here and how valuable even a small fraction of it would be in the dry, rural regions in Sudan or the Horn of Africa. There should be simple things we – as consumers in the rich world – can do in our daily lives that can free up resources in similar ways.
TABLE FOR TWO is a great model. We should take it farther.