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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Are You Ready to Repay Your Ecological Debt?

According to the New Economics Foundation (Nef), yesterday marked this year's ecological debt day.  From now until the end of 2009, all natural resources consumed by our global population are above and beyond the amount that should have lasted the entire year at a sustainable usage rate.  
Society has been in debt to the planet for 29 years, steadily using up far more than our fair share of limited natural resources.  Even in the midst of deep recession, the dangerous trend of over-consumption continues - a habit that could have devastating results if it continues.
Who's to Blame?
Nef's latest report states that a single American emits a year's worth of carbon for a resident of Tanzania by 4 AM on January 2nd.  In the UK, the same amount of emissions occurs by 7 PM on January 4th.  
"Rich world consumption" is to blame for the ever-growing global debt to the environment.  Developed countries over-consume at a ridiculous rate, often using up resources for unnecessary purposes. 
'Boomerang trade' is an excellent example - while the UK exports 5,000 tons of toilet paper to Germany, Germany exports 4,000 tons of the same product back to the UK.  This simultaneous trade of similar goods exhausts fossil fuels that could be preserved for more worthwhile purposes.  A lack of renewable energy sources, coupled with the electrical-dependent lifestyles of wealthy nations, only adds to the problem.
What Can You Do?
Become a part of the No Impact Week Challenge: Enter your email address at the No Impact Experiment to receive information, tips and how-to's, and support for the first No Impact Week challenge.
Buy local: Support local farmers by participating in a CSA in your area; search for nearby manufacturers when you shop and patronize companies that utilize green shipping procedures; avoid imported products whenever possible, especially from companies that are not fair trade businesses.  
Reduce, reuse, and recycle: From composting and organic gardening to energy-saving electronics and sustainable homes, there are a variety of things you can do to lower your impact on the planet and minimize your personal ecological debt.
Contact your representatives: Urge your elected officials to support research for renewable energy and to build local economies.  You can contact government representatives by phone, post, email, and even twitter to voice your thoughts.
Share your ideas to repay our debt to the planet in the comments!
Source: BBC News

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