Get out of Debt!

My ecological footprint across biomes, calculated in 2013

Back in the middle of the first decade of the C21st, Essex County Council briefly ran a website with a purpose to ‘take sustainability on’ in Essex. That link is dead, and many of the plans it presented are also lifeless now,  but some of the site remains preserved here at the Internet Archive for review.

Around 2006 the site reported on Essex’s environmental footprint, highlighting that if all the populations of the world consumed natural resources as we do in Essex, we would require 2.9 planets to sustain it. It doesn’t source its calculation, but the number is broadly in line with the UK’s environmental footprint around the same period as reported by the World Wide Fund for Nature in Ecological footprint of British city residents. 

Today, the Global Footprint Network launches the National Footprint Accounts 2018 Edition at an event at Oxford University, with it’s latest calculations of human consumption, and it’s mixed news:

the global Ecological Footprint per person actually decreased by 1.1 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. Still humanity’s demand for renewable resources remains 68 percent higher than what the planet can renew.

In the UK the Ecological Footprint per person has declined 16.6 percent since 2000, but as the block of red over biocapacity in the graph below shows, the UK still consumes way over its share of global resources. The UK remains in the tope ten of countries with the largest total ecological footprints. A country runs an ecological deficit when its residents demand more from nature than the country’s ecosystems can regenerate – we are in debt with the rest of the world.

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 13.06.12
UK Ecological Footprint from National Footprint Accounts 2018 Edition © 2018 Global Footprint Network

If we want to live within our means, if we want to #TakeBackControl and not be dependent on other countries, if we want to be responsible global citizens leaving something for future generations – then we must reduce our ecological footprints.



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