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Mathis Wackernagel: ‘In 2007, humans go into ecological debt in October’

By early October, we humans had already consumed all the resources Earth will produce for 2007.

That’s the basis of Ecological Debt Day, announced by Mathis Wackernagel of the Global Footprint Network.

To find the Ecological Debt Day for each year, the Global Footprint Network calculates the ratio of the planet’s available biocapacity to the global demand on nature in that year. Then they multiply this ratio by 365 to get the date on which we humans have consumed all the resources Earth will produce in a year.

Currently, humanity uses 30% more in one year than nature can regenerate. In 2007, Ecological Debt Day fell on October 6, and each year it slides up the calendar by about three days as population grows, demand and consumption increases, and biocapacity decreases.

Wackernagel said the most effective way to slow down our use of resources is to focus on making infrastructure, like cities or power plants, resource efficient, and address trends that move slowly, like demographic growth, early on. He calls these “slow changing stocks.”

Mathis Wackernagel: They will determine for decades to come to what extent we consume resources or not. So to what extent we are building ourselves traps, or opportunities.

Mathis Wackernagel also said that ecological assets are the most significant assets we depend on, because, he said, ‘that’s where all the wealth comes from.’

The Global Footprint Network explains Ecological Debt Day at this link.

Our thanks to:
“Mathis Wackernagel”:
Executive Director
Global Footprint Network
Oakland, CA

December 21, 2007

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