The World Wildlife Fund's biennial report on the
state of the natural world said that unless the amount of resources used and the
waste produced is significantly reduced, humanity will be using double the
available resources by 2050. Eventually, ecological assets, such as forests and
fisheries will be harvested to such a degree that they might disappear
Humanity's ecological footprint - measuring the area of biologically
productive land and sea required to provide all the resources used and absorb
waste - has more than tripled between 1961 and 2003.
Countries with the largest ecological footprint per person are the United
Arab Emirates, the U.S., Finland, Canada, Kuwait, Australia, Estonia, Sweden,
New Zealand and Norway. China is ranked No. 69, but its size and rapid economic
growth make it a key player for the sustainable use of the world's resources.
Another indicator of the strain on natural ecosystems is the decline of about
one-third observed in more than 1,300 vertebrate species around the world
between 1970 and 2003. The loss of natural habitat to cropland and pasture has
been particularly acute in the tropics.
Each year, the day that the global economy starts to operate with an
ecological deficit is designated as "ecological debt day", or "overshoot day".
This marks the date that Earth's environmental resource flow begins operating on
an "environmental overdraft".
This year "overshoot day" was 9 October; this means that for the last quarter
of 2006, humanity will be in ecological overshoot, living beyond our
environmental means, causing a net depletion of resources, consuming resources
beyond the level that the Earth's ecosystems can replace.
Our capitalistic business models do NOT take into account any long-term
effects. Those things are assumed to be "infinite". The "cost" of fancy
packaging for all kinds of consumber products is accounted for in the price. No
one think about the cost of waste and depletion of resources. That's supposed to
be government's responsibility.
The payment will finally come due. And who will pay? Thinkaboutit.