People use significantly more natural resources than the planet can safely sustain. A new study suggests that the situation may lead to ecological poverty, Sciencealert reported.
When scientists attempted to determine a figure of the natural resource deficit for 2017, they discovered that the global population of 7.5 billion individuals used 173% of the planet’s biocapacity for that year.
That is a big red flag. It is part of a downhill trend that began some decades ago.
It is estimated that, forty years ago, we were using only 119% of the world’s biocapacity.
Since then, an increase in demand was provoked by wealthy nations, which developed persistently higher standards of living, though they must purchase the required resources from various other nations.
Currently, 3/4 of the world population lives in countries with incomes below average and natural resources are scarce, which means that there is no chance for them to compete with wealthier nations.
The trend can’t go on forever.
If we indeed are serious about eradicating poverty, experts believe that we can’t go on ignoring the limiting factor (Earth’s resources) forever.
We must conserve resources for as much as possible, decrease the amount of fossil fuels we burn, aim for sustainable development, and shift our consumption patterns.
The study’s authors warn that if we don’t act fast, our natural capital will become permanently damaged, unable to recover, and humanity’s hope for an equitable, equal future will slowly fade away.
In 1980, slightly less than 60% of the world population lived in countries with a so-called “double curse” – Countries with incomes below average and biological resources are in deficit.
In 2017, that number jumped to 72%, which says a lot about how society evolved in terms of consuming resources.