It seems just common sense that if we increase the efficiency of how we use a specific natural resource, it follows that less of that resource would be needed because we get more out of each unit.
But as members of the Colcom Foundation have pointed out, common sense can be dead wrong. Colcom officials point to many examples of when increased efficiency of the use of a resource actually increased demand for that product.
An example can be found back in the 1800s with the use of coal. It was British economist William Stanley Jevons who discovered that greater efficiency in the use of coal enabled by better technology clearly led to a much greater demand for coal. Since burning coal got cheaper, more and more locations opted to build coal-burning plants.
What’s true of coal has proven to be the case with numerous other industries. Perhaps among the most notable is plastics. As this now ubiquitous substance has invaded just about every aspect of our lives, the use of plastics has grown to enormous proportions.
Plastics, of course, are among the most grievous and harmful sources of environmental pollution on the planet today. Not the least of the “plastics problems” are the microplastics showing up in water, soil and even inside animals.
The Colcom Foundation calls this the “Rebound Effect”. Greater efficiency leads to more use not less. Foundation officials say the rebound effect is a prime example of why the way we do things in a consumer-based society predicated on endless population growth must be re-evaluated.
Colcom Foundation has been working tirelessly and expending millions of dollars to foster more rational and intelligent ways to handle Earth’s resources toward a goal of sustainability. The Colcom Foundation, based in Pittsburg, became fully funded in 1996.
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Learn more about Colcom Foundation on https://grantsforus.io/type-of-eligible-entity/organizations/nonprofit-organizations/colcom-foundation-grant-program-in-pennsylvania/