Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Shopping: Consumption and the Earth's Carrying Capacity

Throughout the Thanksgiving shopping period, hordes of shoppers will invade malls and stores all across the America. Spending money may help grow the economy but it is undermining the ecological systems on which our economy depends. Although retailers need the business, the planet cannot sustain the number of consumers or the type of consumption we commonly see on this day. There are now 7 billion people on the earth and it is estimated that at current levels of population growth the planet's carrying capacity will completely break down by 2050. Scientists at the Global Footprint project that using current rates of consumption combined with current means of production, by 2050 we'll be 500% above capacity.

Each year our planet can produce a certain amount of resources and absorb a certain amount of use. According to the scientists at the Global Footprint Network, we had already exhausted the earth's carrying capacity for 2011 on Sept. 27, less than 10 months into the year.

This puts us 135% above the capacity of our planet to replace essentials like potable water, clean air, arable land, healthy fisheries and stable climate.

Overconsumption is desroying the ecological systems that sustain the world's economies. The population is expanding and so is consumption and this is simply unsustainable.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Thanksgiving Shopping: From Black Friday to Green Tuesday
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