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Saturday, 8 November 2008
What do you think of this:

"As global financial markets learn difficult lessons on the consequences of unregulated spending, a new report issued by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warns of the danger to future prosperity if the reckless over-consumption of the Earth's natural capital is left unchecked. WWF's Living Planet Report 2008, produced with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Global Footprint Network (GFN), shows more than three quarters of the world's people now living in nations that are ecological debtors, where national consumption has outstripped their country's biological capacity. Presently, human demands on the world's natural capital measure nearly a third more than earth can sustain. In addition, global natural wealth and diversity continue to decline, and more and more countries are slipping into a state of permanent or seasonal water stress."

Yes, it's from the Wall Street Journal. The article continues:

"The findings of the Living Planet Report 2008 reinforce WWF-US's "Greenprint" agenda, a policy road map for the next U.S. administration, which was provided in mid-October to Senators McCain and Obama. Commenting on the "Greenprint" at its release, Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF-US noted "Global consumption of natural resources far exceeds the Earth's regenerative capacity. We are borrowing from our natural capital at an entirely unsustainable rate... To raise the stakes even further, there can be no bailout if the Earth's systems collapse." "The world is currently struggling with the consequences of over-valuing its financial assets, but a more fundamental crisis looms ahead -- an ecological credit crunch caused by under-valuing the environmental assets that are the basis of all life and prosperity..." said WWF International Director-General James Leape, in the foreword to the new report.

"...The United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Kuwait have the largest national ecological footprints per person. On the other end of the scale are countries such as Haiti and the Congo, with a low ecological footprint per person, but facing a future of degrading biocapacity from deforestation and increased demands from a rising population and export pressures.

"The Living Planet Report, published by WWF every two years since 1998, has become widely accepted as an accurate analysis of the earth's ability to remain a "living planet". In 2008, it adds for the first time, new measures of global, national and individual water footprints to existing measures of the Ecological Footprint of human demand on natural resources and the Living Planet Index, a measure of the state of nature. The Living Planet Index, compiled by ZSL, shows a nearly 30 per cent decline since 1970 in... 1,686 species. These dramatic losses in our natural wealth are being driven by deforestation and land conversion in the tropics and the impact of dams, diversions and climate change on freshwater species. Pollution, over-fishing and destructive fishing in marine and coastal environments are also taking a considerable toll.

"The Living Planet Report 2008 includes a new water footprint measurement which illustrates the significance of water traded in the form of commodities; for example, the production of a cotton T-shirt requires 765 gallons of water. On average, each person consumes 327,177 gallons (about half an Olympic swimming pool) of water a year, but this varies from 654,354 gallons per person a year (USA) to 163,325 gallons per capita annually (Yemen). Approximately 50 countries are currently facing moderate or severe water stress and the number of people suffering from year-round or seasonal water shortages is expected to increase as a result of climate change, the report finds. For the single most important challenge -- climate change -- the report shows that a range of efficiency, renewable and low emissions "wedges" could meet projected energy demands to 2050 with reductions in carbon emissions of 60 to 80 percent. Bringing an ecosystems approach into consumption, development and trade considerations would go a long way to protecting the world's vital living resources. "These Living Planet measures serve as clear and robust signposts to what needs to be done," said WWF-International's Leape. "If humanity has the will, it has the way to live within the means of the planet, but we must recognize that the ecological credit crunch will require even bolder action than that now being mustered for the financial crisis."

As to Australia, our Footprint only gets worse, we've moved up into sixth place!

Note that Ecological Footprint is one of the many measures used in Leaderskill Group's Start-up Mega Planning to help organisations discover how sustainability can become the driver for greater success.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 22:42  
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