Ecological Debt Day

by: Heather on 10/15/2007
Posted in: Activism

As part of Blog Action Day, over 15000 bloggers have united to talk about the environment on blogs estimated to reach over 12 million readers.

According to the Global Footprint Network, October 6 marked Ecological Debt Day, the day when humanity consumed the total amount of new resources that our planet can produce this year. Each year the Global Footprint Network calculates humanity's Ecological Footprint (its demand on cropland, pasture, forests and fisheries) and compares it with global biocapacity (the ability of these ecosystems to generate resources and absorb wastes). Ecological Footprint accounting can be used to determine the exact date we, as a global community, go into ecological overshoot, using more than the planet can regenerate in a year. On Ecological Debt Day, we go into global overshoot for a given year and begin contributing to our global ecological debt, which has been accumulating since we first went into overshoot in the 1980s.

The frightening thing about Ecological Debt Day (as if the whole concept of using more resources than our planet can produce isn't frightening enough) is that despite our growing awareness of environmental issues, each year the day falls earlier and earlier. If current trends continue, Ecological Debt Day will fall on July 1 by the year 2050, meaning that it would take two years for the planet to regenerate what we use in one year. Humanity would be living as if we had 2 planets to sustain us.

Mathis Wackernagel, Executive Director of the Global Footprint Network and co-author of Our Ecological Footprint, states "Climate change, collapsing fisheries, water scarcity, and the long list of ecological ills, are merely symptoms. They are symptoms of humanity's ever larger metabolism; humanity's demand on resources and its production of waste has become larger than what planet Earth can handle."

Like so many other things, this is a real wake-up call, if only enough people are listening. We call all be part of the solution!

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