Sustainability: It's Not a Luxury, it's a Matter of Life and Death

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Keywords: 2011 | Business & Trade | Worldwatch Institute | climate change | natural disasters

Sustainability: It's Not a Luxury, it's a Matter of Life and Death

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How much longer can we afford to stay inert in the face of impending disaster? http://bit.ly/HcnaII @justmeans #sustainability
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Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 9:30pm

The world is changing rapidly due to anthropogenic reasons, that is, human activity. Despite mounting evidence that climate change is going to have a profound impact on our way of life, many companies continue to take the business-as-usual approach and the general public remains oblivious to the catastrophic consequences of their behavior as consumers.

How much longer can we afford to stay inert in the face of impending disaster? Perhaps we should replace the word impending with 'ongoing' since recent data reveals natural phenomena, intensified by by global warming, is already making a massive dent on the global economy, human and non-human life. Figures compiled by Munich Reinsurance Company and analysed in the Worldwatch Institute's Vital Signs series show that natural catastrophes resulted in 27,000 deaths and $380 billion in economic losses in 2011. These figures exclude slow-onset famine victims.

The previous record of monetary losses had been set in 2005, when it reached $220 billion. 2011's costliest natural catastrophes were the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan (costing $210 billion), the August-November floods in Thailand ($40 billion), and the February earthquake in New Zealand ($16 billion).

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Antonio Pasolini is a Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade. He is also a happy herbivore.