Daily Management Review

The world economy is accumulating environmental debt


According to calculations of Global Footprint Network international research organization, on August 1 the world economy spent all the conventional reserve of renewable natural resources that can be restored in a year. To meet the requirements for biological resources, the world population still needs 1.7 of the planet Earth.

The Earth Overshoot Day is the conventional date of the next year, to which the world economy has fully used the recalculated volume of renewable biological resources (forests, agricultural products, marine fisheries, ecosystems that can absorb carbon dioxide emissions). Every year, this day shifts to an earlier date: in 2015, the day of environmental debt fell on August 13, in 2016 - on August 8, in 2017 - on August 1. For a day, the Earth's population cuts down 20,000 hectares of forest, throws up 4.8 million tons of garbage, consumes 12.5 million tons of food (of which 3.7 million tons is thrown out), catches more than 250,000 tons of fish and seafood, and also throws out almost 90 megatons of CO2, the study said. Now we need 1.7 of the planet Earth to cover the needs in biological resources.

According to a study by the Global Footprint Network, one of the main drivers of growth of the burden on the environment is the increase in food production in the face of growing world population.

In particular, almost half of the world's land and 70% of all fresh water is used for agriculture. The agricultural sector is also responsible for emissions of 25-30% of greenhouse gases. That is why, researchers emphasize, it is important to switch to sustainable consumption of food, reduce amount of food thrown out, consumption of local, seasonal and certified products produced in accordance with the principles of ecological or organic agriculture.

To reduce the ecological burden on biological resources, scientists also propose to reconsider the approach to urban development in the context of growing urbanization: first of all, it concerns sustainable urban development, programs for eco-transport in the city, supporting "green building", reducing the amount of waste generated and increasing the share of its processing. The third important direction is reduction of the "carbon footprint" of the economy, including energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources.

source: footprintnetwork.org