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Oxfam: we can end poverty without stressing our planet's resources

According to, a new report published by international agency Oxfam, ending poverty need put no additional stress on the planet's natural resources.
The paper's author Kate Raworth says that human deprivation and environmental degradation must be tackled together as humanity's two major operating boundaries - "social boundaries" like hunger, inequality and ill-health and the "planetary or environmental boundaries" like climate change and biodiversity loss - are inextricably linked, Raworth says. reports that Oxfam has published the discussion paper "A Safe and Just Space for Humanity - Can We Live Within The Doughnut?" as a contribution to the debate in the run-up to the UN conference on sustainable development (Rio+20) in June. "By seeing the whole we can understand that solving food, energy and income poverty could be achieved with almost no impact on our planetary boundaries." said Raworth. "Any vision of sustainable development must recognise that eradicating poverty and social injustice is inextricably linked to ecological stability and renewal."

The Stockholm Resilience Centre originally published the concept of nine planetary boundaries, beyond which lies unacceptable environmental degradation. To these, Raworth has added the concept of social boundaries, below which lies unacceptable human deprivation. Together, the two sets of boundaries create an area - shaped like a doughnut - that defines an environmentally-safe and socially-just space for humanity to thrive in. Data shows that we are far from living "within the doughnut". Raworth estimates that humanity is falling far below the social foundation on at least eight of the 11 social boundaries. Nearly 900 million people face hunger, 1.4 billion live on less than $1.25 per day, and 2.7 billion have no access to clean cooking facilities.

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Posted on 16 Feb 2012 14:04