Household consumption and implications for ecological sustainability.
Ouyang, Zhiyun*,1, Luo , Tingwen 1, Liu, Jianguo (Jack)2, 1 Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China2 Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
ABSTRACT- The number of households around the world has been increasing much faster than human population size, and household consumption of resources (e.g., energy, land, water, and food) has become an increasingly important factor affecting ecological sustainability. This is particularly true in rapidly urbanizing areas such as Beijing, the capital of China. Through analyzing and integrating data from remote sensing imagery, population census, and household interviews and surveys, we found that the amount of food, water, energy, and land consumed by households in Beijing over the last decade had increased dramatically. The rise is due to a number of major socioeconomic changes at multiple scales. For example, at the city scale, the rate of growth in the number of households was almost twice as much as population growth rate. At the community scale, traditional communities sharing resources are swiftly replaced by modern communities with less sharing of resources. At the household scale, household size has been declining because of reasons such as changes in household structure (e.g., increased divorces, dissolution of multi-generation families into one- or two-generation families). Across all scales, household income has been jumping significantly as a result of exceptional economic growth in China. To achieve ecological sustainability, socioeconomic changes and household consumption at the household, community, and city scales must be simultaneously addressed.
Key words: household consumption, ecological sustainability, urbanization, household dynamics
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