Excessive Consumption Pushing Our Planet Into Ecological Debt

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There is no doubt about the fact that well to do economies have contributed greatly towards the development of our planet, both economically and technologically. But do you know that underdeveloped nations too have contributed substantially by not doing anything? Sounds strange? Well, rich nations are playing a great role towards depleting the natural resources of our planet, so much so that now there is the danger of our planet falling under permanent “ecological debt”.

There is a term called “biocapacity” which is the capacity of the ecosystem to generate resources and absorb its wastes. When we reach a point in a year when consumption around the Earth exceeds its biocapacity, that day is marked as the ”˜ecological debt day’. According to NEF (New Economics Foundation), for the rest of the year after this day we eat into our natural resources that are not going to be replaced.

The positive side of the economic recession was that it delayed the ecological debt day by 24 hours. Last year, September 24 was the ecological debt day. Now that the economy is slowly taking a better shape, the risk of deepening the ecological debt only increases. Andrew Simms, NEF’s director, opines that over-consumption is driving our planet to the edge of collapse. He adds, “If we bankrupt critical ecosystems, no amount of government spending will bring them back.”

The research by NEF also warns about the alarming increase in the energy consumption of the world, especially by the rich countries. It is surprising to know that only 7% of the global population produces 50% of greenhouse gases! This is basically due to the technological advancement of these countries. Speaking in favor of the new technological energy advancements, NEF says that these will help to improve the quality of life in developing countries. However, it warns that this will also stop after consumption crosses its threshold. According to Simms, the need of the hour is to shift away from a “quantitative focus on income and consumption” towards “more qualitative improvements in the human environment to do with culture, civic, community and family life, long-term learning and those other dimensions that contribute to relatively long and happy lives.”

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