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The Ecological Footprint of the Prodigal

October 28, 2006

The Ecological Footprint of the Prodigal


The World Wide Fund’s biannual Living Planet Report has recently been released. This is the sixth in a series of reports which began in 1998.

The report, compiled by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

and the Global Footprint Network, is based on data from two indicators:

* Living Planet Index which assesses the health of the planet’s ecosystems. In the present study the index tracked the population of 1,313 vertebrate species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals from around the world.

* Ecological Footprint that measures human demand on the natural world especially the amount of biologically productive land and water to meet the demand for food, timber, shelter, and absorb the pollution from human activity

The main finding of the report confirms what we have been suspecting all along;

That, as a result of planet earth’s resources being consumed by man faster than the planet could replenish them, the terrestrial species had declined by 31 per cent between 1970 and 2003. In the tropics the declines are even more dramatic

It appears that the world is facing a serious ecological debt. The global footprint (man’s resource use) exceeded the earth’s biocapacity by 25 per cent in 2003, which meant that the earth could no longer keep up with the demands being placed upon it.

It is said that if the whole world adopts the lifestyle pursued by some of the affluent western nations – a lifestyle the rest of the world aspires to attain – three planets would be needed to support the requirements!


The report forewarns that if the world continues in the “business as usual” mode the demand for resources in 2050 would be twice as much as what the Earth could provide. So the report advocates an economic “single planet living” style as a solution.

To deliver a shift towards a sustainable society mode would require significant action now, in addition to lifestyle changes, on issues such as energy generation, transport and housing.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2008 10:37 am

    this is bull crap

  2. October 20, 2008 10:39 am

    this is a wird site

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