Tuesday, 23 Sep, 2008 Environment

Planet Enters the Ecological Debt Earlier Than Ever


Today the world marks a day when people start living in ecological debt, meaning that they have already used all the natural resources that Earth can provide in a calendar year, the Global Footprint Network reports.

Worldwide, we now need the amount of resources of 1.4 planets to correspond to our lifestyle. According to the Global Footprint Network(GFN) data, the supply of natural resources is shrinking faster than ever due to overpopulation and indulging lifestyle that leads to the devastation of the forests and fisheries, decreasing biodiversity and soil quality. In addition, the global warming contributes to droughts and flooding, which affect water supplies and agriculture, while the amount of waste, primarily carbon dioxide, is growing.

"Ecological Debt Day" is marked September 23rd, which is the earliest ever recorded day, when human demands exceeded the planet's ability to produce and absorb. Today people consume 40% more resources than the planet can supply.

The first year when people entered the ecological debt was in 1986. In 2007 the "Ecological Debt Day" was marked on October 6, the day when people started borrowing from the future.

According to the GFN analysis for 2006, the United States is considered to be the top deficit spender. If the world would have lived according to American lifestyle, people would require the equivalent of 5,4 "Earths" to meet the human demands. The other biggest consumers are Canada, requiring resources of 4,2 "Earths", Great Britain(3,1) and Germany (2,5).

"There could be less than one hundred months to prevent catastrophic, global warming. We need a programme now that is at least as bold as action to save reckless financiers." Andrew Simms, NEF policy director, said.

Source: Mail and Guardian Online

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