June 30, 2002

How Big is Your


How Big is Your Foot?

A recent controversial study states that (surprise!) mankind is using up old Momma Earths resources faster than they can be regenerated. They describe this as man's FOOTPRINT. Use of fossil fuels, intensive farming and fishing, harvesting raw materials for housing and industry...these are some of the contributors to the size of our 'foot'. Contributing to continued future swelling of our FOOT are population growth (that promises to wait for non-voluntary and possibly catastrophic means before it will be checked) and rising standards of living (and who do ya think is the world model for that standard?)

They say: "The calculation provides evidence that human activities have exceeded the biosphere's capacity since the 1980s.

"This 20% overshoot means that it would require 1.2 Earths, or one Earth for 1.2 years, to regenerate what humanity used in 1999.

"The global average per capita area demand for 1999 adds up to 2.3 global hectares per person.

"This (2.3 hectares) is significantly lower than the area demands in industrialised countries such as the US (9.7), or the UK (5.4) and Germany(4.7)."


I like the way this study goes out of its way not to step on toes, so to speak. "Mankind" has all sorts of shoe sizes, notice above that we in this country wear a Circus Clown Size 9.7.

The results are debated because there are some fairly arbitrary assumptions being made. But note that, comparing apples to apples, 1961 to 1999, the trend is certainly not toward reducing "our" footprint.

In 1961, the authors say in their "preliminary and exploratory assessment", humans were using 70% of the capacity of the global biosphere. By 1999, that had risen to 120%.

Mind you, this is not BORROWING from our children's future: it is STEALING. Once unique plant and animal communities are extirpated, oil reserves depleted without sustainable energy replacement, agriculturally productive land is lost to desertification, salinization and erosion, our basis for existence (which, contrary to our Prezdents logic, is BIOLOGICAL and not ECONOMICAL) is fouled and unavailable to those that walk in our footsteps.

What size shoe do you wear? Do you want China, Indonesia, and South America to grow into our shoes? Can we live well with smaller feet?

Posted by fred1st at June 30, 2002 08:09 AM
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