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  • Writer's pictureJudy Ryde

White people exploit the world's resources

click here to read more ..... White People and the Ecology White people have exploited the world’s resources to such an extent that we are likely to destroy the earth as we know it. In my book White Privilege Unmasked: How to be Part of the Solution, I show how the degradation of the world’s ecology is, to a very large extent, to be put at the door of white people, particularly as the economic models we promulgate, explicitly and implicitly rely on constant growth for their efficacy. In the book I say, for example:

No doubt the parlous state of the world with its conflicts and ecological degradation is not all the fault of white people, but it is my contention that it is right for us to take full responsibility for our major part in it. We white people have been particularly guilty of over-exploiting both other human beings and the natural resources of the world for our own benefit.

Many will object to this idea, citing the way that non-western countries are bigger polluters than western ones. This idea is often countered by the fact that developing countries are polluting because they are trying to catch up with western standards of living. While this is true, I think it is even more to the point that many of our potentially polluting demands for a comfortable lifestyle are given to what is traditionally called the ‘third world’ (non-white people do not even live in the same world we live in!). This includes the cheap manufacture of consumer goods and dealing with our waste products It was recently reported that some countries to whom waste had been exported are sending it back to the countries from whom it originated. Maybe this is the best way for us to realise that continually making non-biodegradable waste is not sustainable. We will then be able to feel the effects of our profligacy rather than send it away for others to deal with. Evi Hartman, a German researcher, found that, with a normal middle-class life-style in the west, you would have about sixty slaves working for you in sweat shops and elsewhere all over the world. This thoughtless behaviour is just one of the ways that we, as white people, do not understand our privilege and how destructive it is.

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