ecostory 39/2006
footprints and sustainability - | e |
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footprints? Fussabdrücke? Empreintes de pas ?
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sustainability...? Nachhaltigkeit? durabilité ?

We consume

  • renewables and
  • non-renewables.

    Renewable resources are products made of plant and animal material.

    Renewables are regenerated by the interactive functioning of nature.

    Sustainability is a state of human affairs where we don't consume more renewables than nature can regenerate.

    Non-renewables are finite resource stocks, such as fossil fuels, uranium, metals and minerals, soil fertility, fossil water, a normal climate, space, natural forests, etc., that are not renewed by nature in a human time scale. Once they are depleted they are gone forever.
    No technology or ingenuity or money can recreate lost minerals and biodiversity.
  • Our human footprint consists of our annual consumption of renewables and non-renewables.
    If our consumption of renewables is higher than their rate of regeneration, we will run out of food and fibre.
    If our depletion rate of non-renewables is low in comparison to the available stocks, we can carry on for a relatively long period of time.

    Sustainability refers to a level of human resource consumption that can be maintained for a very long time, theoretically forever. If our human footprint is too high it can not be sustained by the Earth for a long time.
    Climate change is "only" one part of the general problem of the unsustainability of humanity's lifestyles.
    It cannot be dealt with in isolation.
    Nor can it be reduced to the "energy" question.
    Climate change and its effects are a result of air pollution by greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide, methane, CFCs and water vapour). Climate change is under way and not stoppable. Carbon dioxide cannot be sequestered by human efforts, nor by nature within human time scales. (The Kyoto protocoll will not help since its mechanisms are technically not workable and its goals are far below the level that is required.)
    Presently, our human footprint is too high, in almost all areas of resource consumption - i.e. our lifestyles.
    It is not sure, however, in which area the depletion will first reach the critical point that may lead to a collapse of the human socio-economic structures. It could be lack of food, clean water, an illness, toxification and pollution, lack of fossil energy or something else.
    Taking all environmental developments together - i.e. expansion of economic scale and consumption per capita, as well as population growth and the increasing speeds of resource depleten - we believe it is no longer a matter of the so-called "future generations".
    It must be feared that not only our grandchildren or our children but even we ourselves may have to face the dire consequences of "overshoot", being total depletion, resource wars, collapse and die-off.

    What is our human time scale?

    How sustainable are our socio-economic ways of living? How long can we carry on "business as usual"?

  • Footprint, Sustainability and Time - a Glossary
  • Ecological Footprint update March 2010 and ecoglobe's critique January 2011.
  • "Leben auf zu grossem Fuss" (NZZ am Sonntag 3.2.2008)
  • An Analysis of the "Ecological Footpring Accounting" method
  • Definitions and quotes
  • Environmental diplomacy - an introductory afternoon
  • Footprint comments regarding New Zealand and Wackernagel
  • The Living Planet Facts and Figures WWF's and Wackernagel's "Footprint" account
  • Ecologocal Footprint" compared to "Environmental Impact"
  • Area-based Sustainability - William Rees 1995
  • sustainability
  • ecological footprint - wikipedia
  • Fragegespräch im Bund (Bern) vom 1.12.07 "Wir bauen ökologische Schulden auf"

  • Votre opinion - Ihre Meinung
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