According to a UNICEF report, children in the world’s richest countries grow up in a relatively healthy environment, but at the same time the majority of these countries contribute disproportionately to global environmental degradation.
If all people consumed the same amount examined by residents of European Union and OECD countries, 3.3 Earth-like planets would be necessary, scientists from the UNICEF Innocenti research center concluded.
For example, if each person were to consume as many resources as the inhabitants of Canada, Luxembourg and the USA, then at least five terrestrial organisms would be required, UNICEF Cologne said. Also in Germany, resource consumption is very high: at the global level, 2.9 percent of land is needed for the German way of life.
Child-friendly environment vs ecological footprint
Data from 39 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Union were collected for the UNICEF report. The researchers wanted to find out how each country managed to create a healthy, child-friendly environment. However, at the same time, the associated ecological footprint, such as the country’s share of climate change, resource consumption, and e-waste production, was also examined.
Spain, Ireland and Portugal came at the top of the country ranking that came in this way. In comparison, these three countries provide a good environment for the children who live there and contribute less to global environmental problems. Germany is 9th in the first third of the ranking.
The performance of some rich countries is poor
It has been reported that some of the richest countries in the world – including Australia, Belgium, Canada and the United States – have had a serious impact on the global environment in terms of carbon emissions, e-waste production and resource use per capita. At the same time, they are at the bottom of the international comparison when it comes to creating a healthy environment for their children. So their performance is particularly bad.
“The majority of rich countries fail to provide a healthy environment for all children within their borders, and they contribute to the destruction of children’s habitats in other parts of the world,” concludes Junilla Olson, director of the Innocenti Foundation. “In some cases, we find that countries that provide relatively healthy environments for children at home are also among the largest producers of pollutants destroying children’s environments in other countries.” (dpa)