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Technological changes for increased production, changing consumption patterns and sustainable development.

Adnan MH
In: Expert group meeting on population, environment and sustainable development. Bangkok, Thailand, Adnan, Mohd H. H., 1994. 85-93. (Asian Population Studies Series No. 126)

This paper considers the consequences of technological changes such as those brought about by the industrial revolution, the green revolution, and the more recent information revolution. After an opening section which discusses how technology has simultaneously improved our standard of living and degraded the environment, the green revolution is further analyzed to reveal its adverse impacts. For example, the new high-yield variety crops have lower nutritional value than the crops from which they were derived, and there are serious problems associated with mechanism in farming. Next, the need to upgrade or adapt an appropriate technology so that it will be environmentally friendly while also achieving increased production is considered. In the fourth section, the crucial role that technology plays in increasing the complexity of the modern market place and in changing consumption patterns is considered. The discussion then moves from a consideration of our behavior as consumers to the identification of socially conscious consumers and promotion of "green consumerism" to the necessity of profiling segments of the population to identify consumption patterns. These comments culminate in a description of the responsible consumption which should be our goal. The consumption patterns related to sustainable development (the concept of needs in particular and the essential needs of the poor and the idea of technological and environmental limitations to attempts to meet those needs) are then addressed. Finally, approaches to promote sustainable development and responsible consumption behavior are presented, including "demarketing," recycling, education, use of the mass media, and support of citizen movements to promote sustainable development.

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