Ecological Overshoot

Ecological Deficit
Means Ecological Disaster

Did you know that the United States consumes up to 30% of the world’s resources and generates nearly 30% of the world’s wastes?  All this with just 4.5% of the world’s population!

Out of approximately 150 countries evaluated by the Global Footprint Network, the United states ranks number three in the global area of land and sea area required per capita (behind the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, two oil-rich nations).  The ecological footprint of the U.S. is approximately five times the available global capacity per person. Stated another way, it would take nearly five planets to sustain life on earth, if everyone lived as we do! At this level of ecological deficit, exhaustion of ecological assets and large-scale ecosystem collapse become increasingly likely.

“In 2008, humanity used 40% more in one year than nature can regenerate that same year.  That means it takes over a year and three months for the Earth to regenerate what humanity is using in one year.

This problem – using resources faster than they can regenerate and creating waste faster than it can be absorbed – is called ecological overshoot.  We currently maintain this overshoot by liquidating the planet’s natural resources.  For example, we can cut trees faster than they re-grow, and catch fish at a rate faster than they repopulate.  While this can be done for a short while, overshoot ultimately leads to the depletion of resources on which our economy depends.” - Source:  Global Footprint Network

by Earth Communications Office


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