Lonely Tree - Surrealistic expressionism, Fine Art photography

Ecological Footprint: What is it

You can take a look at Wikipedia or the website footprintnetwork.org, for example, for a formal definition and explanation of it.

A simple definition: how much nature we use versus how much nature is available.

And this is my definition of your (and my) ecological footprint: how many earths would be needed if all people lived as you (or I) do.

So ecological footprint is not the same as CO2 footprint. CO2 footprint indicates "only" how many emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 your way of life causes. But that is only a small part of the enormous problem that our overconsumption causes: extinction of species by destroying their habitat (animals and plants, causing a complete imbalance of nature, with possible consequences that we cannot foresee), poisoning of air, soil and water with plastics, pesticides, PFAS etc., depletion of raw materials that are not easily replenished...

And of course, consumption is not only about what you eat, it is everything you use / buy / eat...

Since we only have one earth, it should go without saying that we as humanity should have an ecological footprint smaller than 1. One earth should be the limit if everything what we do. Especially if you realize that the population is still growing rapidly, we should have some leeway....

We don't.

Much worse, humanity currently needs about 1.7 earths.
Every year for decades, we have used more nature than the earth can replenish.
And, of course, it is incredibly unequal and unfairly distributed: countries that need more than 5 earths, versus countries that now use the equivalent of 0.1 earth.

So how do we keep this up, how is it that we use more than what is there?

There are 2 ways we do that: the rich steal from the poor, use the nature, the resources, that the poor need. Second: we live on the cheap, we deplete the earth, consuming even what future generations would and will need for a life that meets the most basic "requirements" for food and water, for a clean and safe living environment, protection from weather through housing and clothing, etc.

We are stealing from the future, because for many resources, gone is gone, and we are 'giving' future generations a huge problem; dealing with the pollution of air, soil and water that we are not cleaning up, depletion of all kind of resources and the extinction of disproportionate numbers of species of animals and plants, making life on earth increasingly difficult....

Then let's go to Mars after all ... I've heard someone say.
Two things: first, almost nothing is present there of what a human being needs to live. So almost everything will have to be taken from Earth. And we already have a great shortage here....
Second: we have not succeeded here in living in harmony with our environment and with other fellow human beings. Why should we suddenly succeed on mars, where conditions are many times harsher than here?

So to make sure that the earth will be a nice place to live in the future, we absolutely must reduce our consumption !

Artwork: Lonely Tree

I laugh at myself, old man, with no strength left
inclined to calm seas, in love with lonely trees
oh well, I've wandered down the years to now
free in the flow; and floated home the same
a drifting boat.

All content © 2014-2020  Jacob Berghoef