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Issue 27, November 30, 2011 

New Report Explores Links Between Resource Constraints and Economic Performance
Our Global Footprint at Eye on Earth Summit
Bringing the Footprint to Southeast Asia
The Real Wealth of Nations Geneva Launch
Technology Alone Is Not the Answer
Partner Network Updates
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Our mission is to promote a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a measurement tool that makes the reality of planetary limits relevant to decision-makers.

Technology Alone Is Not the Answer


Western culture is fixated by the notion that technology alone is the cure-all, freeing us from all of our environmental problems. But authors Michael and Joyce Huesemann have attempted to debunk this myth in their new book, Techno-Fix. Technology, they say, has only limited potential to reduce our Ecological Footprint.


As Mathis Wackernagel, co-creator of the Ecological Footprint is quoted, “There is much evidence today that humanity’s Ecological Footprint already exceeds global carrying capacity. Ecological resilience and social well-being are more likely to be assured if the total human load remains substantially below Earth’s carrying capacity. Living at the ecological edge comprises ecosystem’s adaptability, robustness and regenerative capacity, thereby threatening other species, whole ecosystems, and ultimately humanity itself.”

Many assume there are few problems in an industrialized society that cannot be solved by greater efficiency. It is also assumed that dwindling non-renewable resources will be countered by better energy efficiency; food and water scarcity will be cured by more efficient genetically modified crops; environmental pollution can be solved by designing more eco-efficient industrial processes; and slow economic growth can be reversed by improving the effectiveness of our labor force.

Techno-Fix reveals that negative unintended consequences of technology are inherently unpredictable and unavoidable, that techno-optimism is unjustified, and that modern technology, in the presence of continued economic growth, does not promote sustainability, but hastens collapse.

“We have altered the chemistry of the atmosphere with fossil fuel use and now hope that we can maintain our lifestyles, economies and consumption with the promise of geo-engineering – carbon capture and storage or spraying aerosols of sulfur dioxide in the sky,” wrote David Suzuki in his review of Techno-fix.  “As this book shows, it is suicidal to put our hopes in such promises.”

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