Intended for healthcare professionals


Human population growth

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 12 February 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:443

Rich countries need education on resource conservation

  1. Subbiah Arunachalam, distinguished fellow (
  1. M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai 600 113, India
  2. Nairobi Hospital, PO Box 47964, Nairobi, Kenya
  3. Centre for International Child Health, Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH
  4. Health Unlimited, Prince Consort House, London SE1 7TS

    EDITOR—“Because rich countries remain the main source of new knowledge and new technologies, responsibility for finding paths to sustainability rests mainly with them.”1 Well said.

    Unfortunately, the rich countries, or at least the dominant sections in rich countries, have not yet learnt to view the world as a single whole. The world continues to be a space to be dominated. It used to be domination by conquering and colonising, now it is domination through unfair economic and trade agreements. National self interest takes precedence over global good. If corporations in the rich countries do things that exacerbate the divide between rich and poor and make sustainability increasingly difficult to attain, individuals in those countries add their bit by consuming scarce natural resources at an alarming rate. Development experts talk of the great importance of education in the poor countries. I think that educating the rich countries about the need to reduce consumption and conserve resources is equally, if not more, important. Without that …

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