According to one estimate, the richest 5% of the world's population may exert as much pressure on environmental resources as the poorest 25%. A person in the USA is estimated to cause 100 times more damage to the global environment than a person in a poor country. Since 1940, people in the USA alone have used up as large a share of the earth's mineral resources as all previous generations of the world put together. By the time a baby born today in the USA reaches age 75, he or she will have produced 52 tonnes of garbage, consumed 162 million litres of water and used 3,375 barrels of oil.
The Wuppertal Institute has calculated that it takes 76 tonnes of materials per annum to sustain the lifestyle of the average German. 60 tonnes of this total is water. 29% is consumed in the provision of housing, 20% in the provision of food and 13% in leisure activities.