Ecological footprint Data
At the current rate humanity is using natural resources and producing waste, by the mid-2030s we will require the resources of two planets to meet our demands, according to figures released today by Global Footprint Network. The data comes at a critical time, as the economic crisis felt around the globe has made it painstakingly clear: Debt and overspending can continue for a while but ultimately have dire consequences.
Our demand on nature, just as the economy, is reaching a critical tipping point. Two years ago, Global Footprint Network data showed humanity on track to reach the two-planet mark by 2050. Now it appears we are set to this critical threshold much earlier, at around the time children born today are entering the workforce. Meeting this level of demand is likely to be physically impossible, and would likely cause ecosystem failures that would threaten the economic underpinnings of our society.
“Continued ecological deficit spending will have severe economic consequences, ” said Dr. Mathis Wackernagel, executive director of Global Footprint Network. “Resource limitations and ecosystem collapses would cause food and energy costs to skyrocket, while the value of long-term investments would plummet.”
The information is part of comprehensive new data from Global Footprint Network exploring the changing state of human pressure on the planet and how it compares across 200 nations. A summary of the findings are presented in the, produced with WWF and the Zoological Society of London. Complete country-by-country graphs, data tables, sources and methodology are available in .
Living Beyond our Means
reports that in 2005, humanity's Ecological Footprint was 31 per cent larger than the planet's capacity to produce these resources. This ecological 'overshoot' means that it now takes about one year and three months for the Earth to regenerate what we use in a single year. Overshoot has increased by 5 per cent since the last Living Planet Report, which was based on 2001 data. The carbon dioxide Footprint, which accounts for the use of fossil fuels, is almost half the total global Footprint, and is its fastest growing component, increasing more than eleven fold from 1961 to 2005."Humanity is living off its ecological credit card, " said Dr. Wackernagel. "While this can be done for a short while, overshoot ultimately leads to liquidation of the planet's ecological assets, and the depletion of resources, such as the forests, oceans and agricultural land upon which our economy depends."
How Countries Compare
Three quarters of the human population today live in countries that are “ecological debtors, ” demanding more biocapacity than they have within their borders.
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