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On August 21, we exceed nature’s budget
It has taken humanity less than nine months to exhaust its ecological budget for the year, according to Global Footprint Network calculations.
Today, humanity reaches Earth Overshoot Day: the day of the year in which human demand on the biosphere exceeds what it can regenerate. As of today, humanity has demanded all the ecological services – from filtering CO2 to producing the raw materials for food – that nature can regenerate this year. For the rest of the year, we will meet our ecological demand by depleting resource stocks and accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
“If you spent your entire annual income in nine months, you would probably be extremely concerned,” said Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel. “The situation is no less dire when it comes to our ecological budget. Climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, water and food shortages are all clear signs: We can no longer finance our consumption on credit. Nature is foreclosing.”
Earth Overshoot Day Occurring Earlier Than Ever
Last year, Earth Overshoot Day was observed on September 25, 2009. This year, the day is estimated to come more than a month earlier. This is not due to a sudden surge in human demand, but rather to improvements in the calculation methodology that enable us to more adequately capture the extent of overshoot. For example, our latest data show we have less grazing land than previously estimated. As a result, the ratio of how much we use as compared to how much we have has increased. The graph below shows when Earth Overshoot Day would have occurred in past years based on our most recent accounting of overshoot.
Source: Global Footprint Network – http://www.footprintnetwork.org/
The current century has the dubious distinction of being an ‘urban century’. More than half the population of the world live in cities; cities are growing much faster than national population growth rates; and most of the ‘global’ problems that we are facing have their starting points and precedences in very urban settings.
Going beyond size alone, or contribution to GDP, the Global Cities Ranking looks at how much a city influences what goes on away from its boundaries – markets, cultures, innovation etc. It covered a city’s business activity, human capital, and information exchange to its cultural experience and political engagement. The 2010 Global Cities Index was created as a collaboration between Foreign Policy, management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, and The Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
See the full ranking and further details at: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/08/11/the_global_cities_index_2010
Over the last several years, Prof. David Edgell of East Carolina University has been sharing his list of “Ten Most Important Tourism Issues”.
Presented as simple ‘headlines,’ his list for 2011 makes interesting reading, with sustainability being an underlying theme that runs through all the items. Disasters and conflicts, internet and communication technologies, and policy and planning tools also make the list.
A specific geographic region has also been singled out – East Asia and Pacific Region – as a destination, as well as a source of tourists.
Here is the list:
- Repercussions from the global economic slowdown on tourism
- Continuous concern for safety and security with respect to tourism
- Significance of sustainability in the development and management of tourism
- Effect on tourism from natural and man-made disasters
- Growth in the use of electronic and other technologies in tourism
- Impact on tourism with the introduction of new destinations
- Importance of fuel costs on tourism
- Influence of mega events on tourism
- Using strategic tourism policy and planning tools for communities and nations
- Recognition of increased tourism activity in the East Asia and Pacific Region
The list was developed using university discussions; conferences and seminars; tourism documents; survey information; industry data; books, articles, and publications; and utilization of a modified Delphi approach in gathering certain research information and obtaining a consensus viewpoint.