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134530Tracking the ecological overshoot of the human economy ( article)

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    Mar 7, 2014

        The article is available  at  http://www.pnas.org/content/99/14/9266.full.pdf


      Mathis Wackernagel*†, Niels B. Schulz‡, Diana Deumling*, Alejandro Callejas Linares§, Martin Jenkins¶, Valerie Kapos¶,

      Chad Monfreda*, Jonathan Loh_, Norman Myers**, Richard Norgaard††, and Jørgen Randers‡‡



      *Redefining Progress, 1904 Franklin Street, 6th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612; ‡Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies of Austrian Universities, Department of

      Social Ecology, Schottenfeldgasse 29, 1070 Vienna, Austria; §Centro de Estudios para la Sustentabilidad, Obreros Textiles 57 Departamento 6, Colonia

      Marco Antonio Mun˜ oz, 91060 Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico; ¶World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, United

      Kingdom; _World-Wide Fund for Nature International, Avenue Mont-Blanc, 1196 Gland, Switzerland; **Green College, Oxford University,

      Oxford OX2 6HG, United Kingdom; ††Energy and Resources Group, 310 Barrows Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3050;

      and ‡‡Norwegian School of Management BI, Elias Smiths vei 15, Box 580, N-1302 Sandvika, Norway




      “  Sustainability requires living within the regenerative capacity of

      the biosphere. In an attempt to measure the extent to which

      humanity satisfies this requirement, we use existing data to

      translate human demand on the environment into the area required

      for the production of food and other goods, together with

      the absorption of wastes. Our accounts indicate that human

      demand may well have exceeded the biosphere’s regenerative

      capacity since the 1980s. According to this preliminary and exploratory

      assessment, humanity’s load corresponded to 70% of the

      capacity of the global biosphere in 1961, and grew to 120% in 1999.”





      Conclusion  (  part  of)


      The purpose of these global accounts is not merely to illustrate

      a method for measuring human demand on bioproductivity,

      but to offer a tool for measuring the potential effect of

      remedial policies. For instance, our accounts can be used to

      calculate the likely effect of various technological breakthroughs,

      as indicated in the sensitivity analyses referred to

      above. Emerging eco-technologies producing renewable energy

      or mimicking biological processes are promising candidates

      for such calculations. For example, using the best

      available technology, resource consumption for ground transportation

      and housing can be reduced by a factor four, while

      still maintaining the same level of service (47).

      Furthermore, resource accounting, as attempted here, could

      help guide a potential reaction to overshoot. Combined with

      national or regional assessments presented elsewhere (12, 13,

      48–50), our accounts could help determine how much each

      nation or region is contributing to the overall impact of humanity.

      And when further refined, they could help evaluate potential

      strategies for moving toward sustainability. “




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