November 24, 2009
Earth’s Resources Being Used At Upsetting Pace
Americans are gobbling up the Earth's resources at a distressing speed, a study released on Tuesday said.
Currently, humans annually use resources equal to about one-and-a-half Earths to satisfy its needs, notes the research released by Global Footprint Network.
"We are demanding nature's services -- using resources and creating CO2 emissions -- at a rate 44 percent faster than what nature can regenerate and reabsorb," says the paper. "That means it takes the Earth just under 18 months to produce the ecological services humanity needs in one year."
At this rate, "we will require the resources of two planets to meet our demands by the early 2030s," an insatiable amount of ecological expenditure that may trigger an ecosystem collapse, the report said.
Global Footprint Network determined the ecologica spendingl of over 100 countries and of the planet. They figured out how much resources the planet currently has, how much is consumed, and who uses what.
Right now, 80% of countries use more resources than is accessible. They bring in resources from around the globe, use their own supply and fill "waste sinks," like the atmosphere and ocean, with pollution.
The normal American has a 23 acre ecological footprint.
"In most high-income, industrialized countries like the US and European countries, the biggest part of the ecological footprint is the carbon footprint," Nicole Freeling, a spokeswoman for the Global Footprint Network, said to the AFP.
"One of the biggest things such a country can do to reduce its ecological footprint is to manage energy more efficiently and effectively -- for example, by investing in renewable energy and clean tech on the one hand, and resource-efficient infrastructure and compact urban development on the other," she added.
Practicing conservation habits can also shrink the global footprint.
"While people living at or below subsistence levels may need to increase their consumption to move out of poverty, more affluent people can reduce consumption and still improve their quality of life," Freeling said.
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