Saturday, April 11, 2009

Britain's Ecological Deficit Begins Easter Sunday

Sometime in the second half of the 1980's the world went into ecological deficit. That was when man began consuming renewable resources faster than our planet could replenish them. In the two decades since then we've been meeting our increasing demands by 'eating our seed corn.' This has been evidenced by deforestation, desertification from overworking our arable lands (farmland), species extinction and resource exhaustion of renewables such as fresh water.

A study by the New Economics Foundation concludes that Britain arrives at its annual ecological deficit tomorrow, Easter Sunday. That is the point at which the British people will have consumed the entire annual stock of their nation's renewables. From The Guardian:

The recession may have slowed consumption but the New Economics Foundation (Nef) says we are now drawing deep on the cropland, pasture, forests and fisheries of other countries.
The research also shows that by tomorrow the country will have used the levels of resources it should consume in an entire year if it were to be ecologically self-sufficient.

Andrew Simms, Nef's policy director, said: "We are consuming more and more, and as our ecosystems become more stressed the day in the year on which we effectively go beyond our environmental means, and move into ecological debt, is moving ever earlier in the year. In 1961 it was 9 July, but this year it falls on Easter Sunday."

The UK's ecological debt and reliance on the rest of the world are revealed in our dependence on imports of
food and energy, says Nef: "National food self-sufficiency is in long term decline, and we are increasingly dependent on imports at precisely the time when the guarantee of the rest of the world ability to provide for us is weakening."

This is unquestionably a candle burning from both ends. Even advanced nations are relying on a steady supply of consumables that is patently unsustainable. As the 'seed corn' stocks are becoming depleted, and they already are, supply will inevitably shrink forcing even more severe competition for what remains between the 'haves' and 'have nots.'

The denialists don't like to get into this subject because they can't argue it away. The evidence of these mounting shortages is patent, tangible. Our planet, the only biosphere we have, is under attack - from us.

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