A paper recently published on Nature Sustainability assessed the needs of people in 150 countries. The paper sought to determine how resources were being utilized to satisfy both basic and tertiary needs. Daniel O’Neill and his fellow researchers carried out a survey on what people need the most from the environment.

O’Neill’s findings highlighted human needs to revolve around fresh water, phosphorus, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Research shows that countries with better living standards derive resources from other countries whereas those that do not venture outside their boundaries remain poor. Furthermore, some countries venturing outside their borders are doing better than their counterparts. Countries like Germany and Vietnam are excelling more than states such as Turkey and South Africa.

To ensure all citizens have access to overall well-being, planetary boundaries have to be crossed. The stability of the global environment is at stake if at all every individual has to access all resources necessary for better living. Global utopia can only be realized when countries use their own resources and not go beyond planetary boundaries, to satisfy the needs of its people. O’ Neill and his team speculate that it would be more difficult to ensure equality of well-being with an increase in human population.

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