Ecological footprint country
A new Living Planet Report from the World Wildlife Fund shows the many ways in which human demand for natural resources is far outstripping the earth's supply. The numbers are startling, none more so than the disparity between rich and poor countries. Richer countries have a footprint per person five times larger than poorer countries. But the total number of offending countries keeps rising overall, too. The WWF calls a country's demand for land and natural resources its "ecological footprint." This measures the area of land needed to regenerate the resources that humans in that country consume. The vertical green line in the chart below represents the world's average ability to meet human demand; everything to its right is exceeding it.
Carbon pollution is the largest single reason why half of the countries' average citizen has such a huge footprint. They're basically producing more carbon each year than forests and oceans can absorb. Some are not very surprising: The small oil-heavy countries Kuwait, Quatar, and the United Arab Emirates take the top three spots. Some might be unexpected, though: Denmark and Belgium are fourth and fifth, respectively, primarily because of the amount of cropland they use. The U.S. ranks as the eighth-highest ecological footprint per capita. To put that in another context, if everyone in the world lived like Americans do, we'd need four Earths just to sustain their lifestyles. Together, the world needs 1.5 Earths to match the demands we're making of it.
In case that isn't enough bad news, the report is just as grim on the future of wildlife. Humans' unsustainable demands have halved the world's mammal, bird, and fish populations in just 40 years.
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