- In a world that is reaching its limits through over-exploitation in an increasingly noticeable manner (with climate change, financial crises etc. being symptoms of this over-exploitation), the Ecological Footprint acts as a “bookkeeping tool” for nature, making our growth limits tangible.
- It compares the resources (i.e. the sum of the biocapacity utilized by consumption of goods, energy and services within a year) we use to the resources (or biocapacity) we have at our disposal.
- The concept was developed by the scientists William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel in the early 90s.
- Currently (2013), the resources our earth provides us with every year are already consumed on August 20 ("Overshoot Day") – hence, we build up debt (facilitated by “borrowed” non-renewable fossil energy) or use up the earth's substance itself instead of the resources it provides, in other words: Mankind is not living on the interest payments but on nature's capital.
- However, this over-exploitation is caused by only ¼ of the world's population – if the entire world lived accordingly, the system might have tipped over already. We are thus living at the expense of the earth and the developing countries!
- In addition to its effects on the environment, over-exploitation also presents us with tremendous social and political challenges: Regarding the current over-exploitation of the world, global justice and fairness are not feasible!
- The Ecological Footprint demonstrates how much we need. From this basis, we can take the necessary steps, as an individual, a company, a state or a community of states and create a world that is fair to all. Nonetheless, we must rethink.
- Rethinking does not worsen our living conditions, it provides us with the joy of living a good life, easy and light-hearted :)
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