Millennium Consumption Goals for the Rich?

Most of us are familiar with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)., but for those who are not, the MDGs include a set of eight (8) goals that about 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have all agreed to achieve by the year 2015. The goals include eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as HIV & AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development.

A few days ago, I came across something markedly different called the Millennium Consumption Goals (MCGs) and so I decided to find out more about these new sets of goals. I found out that the idea behind the MCGs is for rich countries (yes rich countries!) to reduce their climate-damaging consumption habits. Apparently, suggestions have been pouring in from across the world on how the world’s rich countries can take responsibility for their non-sustainable habits. At this time however, the MCGs are mere proposals which were initiated by Professor Mohan Munasinghe, an expert physicist and economist from Sri Lanka,  but they seem to be gaining a lot of support especially in the light of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development which will be held in 2012.

I think this is a great new direction for ensuring sustainable development worldwide, but what I find most amazing about the MCGs is that individuals do not have to wait on their governments in order to make a difference. So what can we do? A few suggestions I have seen online include:

  1. Teaching kids the habit of preventing wasteful use of papers, toys and clothes.
  2. Wearing second-hand clothes.
  3. Reduced working hours to increase use of bicycles and more walking. (I am not sure how far this will go but hey you never know!).
  4. Reduced meat and dairy consumption.

I came up with a few suggestions that I can personally apply which I have listed below:

  1. Turning off the light and reducing the amount of hours I spend watching TV.
  2. Using the stairs a lot more instead of the elevator.
  3. Taking a walk sometimes instead of driving, especially when heading just around the corner.
  4. Unplugging my laptop and computer more often or shutting it down when it is not in use.
  5. Recycle a whole lot more!

So what do you think and are you willing to give the MCGs a shot? Do you have any suggestions that could be added to the list?

Ufuoma Barbara Akpotaire is a Program and Research intern with the SISGI Group’s Research Division. To learn more about the SISGI Group please visit

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