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Humans Currently Consume 20% More Natural Resources Than Earth Produces

a new WWF report states that humans currently consume 20% more natural resources than the earth can produce.

the ecological footprint of a North American is eight times the size of the average African's, and an average European draws about four times as much of the earth's resources as the average Asian.

"We're now spending nature's capital much faster than it can regenerate," says WWF director-general Claude Martin.
Living Planet Report


p2pnet.net OT News:- Humans currently consume 20% more natural resources than the earth can produce, says a new report that examines the ecological effect of modern consumption patterns on natural resources.

The 'ecological footprint' of a North American is eight times the size of the average African's, and an average European draws about four times as much of the earth's resources as the average Asian, states the WWF's 'Living Planet Report 2004' launched in Brussels yesterday.

Humanity had already gone beyond the earth's capacity by the end of the eighties and we're now, "spending nature's capital much faster than it can regenerate," says WWF director-general Claude Martin, quoted in an Inter Press Service Agency report.

And while the human population keeps growing, the population of 'other' species is plummeting.

"The depletion is caused by an increasing demand for energy and natural resources, the report says.

Particularly alarming is our energy footprint, dominated by our use of fossil oils such as coal, gas and oil, the conservation group says, according to ISP, whihc adds the 'footprint' is a rough estimate of what an average person produces and consumes, converted into hectares. It measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes, given prevailing technology.

This is said to have increased 700% since 1961.

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See:-

eight times - A Footprint About a Fifth Too Large  http://www.panda.org/downloads/general/lpr2004.pdf, Inter Press Service Agency, October 21, 2004

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Implications 22.Oct.2004 04:43

Mike stepbystepfarm <a> mtdata.com

1) As soon as the fossil resources which have been "financing" this overshoot have become exhausted the human population WILL shrink by at least 20%. Our choices are limited to how this might be accopmplished, whether relatively gracefully (if that's still possible) or by humans actually dying off. Estimates vary as to how much longer the fossil fuels and water will last. With the shorter estimates, it's already too late for any "soft landing" to the crach.

2) Measure only real things. I know this is hard, hard to think this way, but our usual accounting methods are useless once only real things count. The rich have much more paper, consume much more papaer than the poor. That can lead one to be overly optimistic about the potential "gains" fro fairer redistribution. Gains there will be, but not what you might at first think. A "Rolls Royce", a "Hummer", etc. might COST ten times what an ordinary car does -- but they consume only two to three times the resources. A rich person with "net worth" thousands of times of that of a poor person in this society does eat food (prime meats, etc.) which use up more of the Earth than the poor person's diet, say maybe ten times. Their mansion uses ten time the heating fuel, etc.

3) Footprint studies as usually done can be misleading as to where the worst problems lie in immediate terms. That's because they do not consider "fat" -- how much people COULD cut back and still survive once it becomes a matter of life or death. The right way to do this is to first determine survival levels. Thus not how much North Americans DO now consume compared to their available resource base but how little they COULD consume and still survive << like people do when there is a war being fought on their territory >>. Then do the same for these other areas.

Places which COULD cut back to bare survival levels (currently fat) and then get by on what can be produced sustainably are in relatively better shape than places now so close to survial levels that they cannot afford to cut back at all.

If you imagine that push come to shove, humans will "share", you are overly optimisitic. The "die off" < if that's what will happen > will not be shared fairly. The bioregions most likely to come through relatively better in this sort of crisis are those which .......
a) Can supply survival needs (or more) for their population from sustainable sources
b) Have natural boundaries adequate against low fuel mass migrations.