“One planet” is not a metaphor; it is a description. It is not a goal, but rather a recognition of our context. It acknowledges that there is a limited ecological budget our planet makes available. Human demand (“Ecological Footprint”) now exceeds what the planet’s ecosystems can renew (“biocapacity”) by at least 56%. That’s why August 22 was this year’s Earth Overshoot Day – humanity is using the biosphere so fast that this year, from January 1 to August 22, the demand was as large as the total amount all ecosystems combined can renew in the entire year.
Although the massive overuse of ecological resources still barely carries any financial weight, this overshoot cannot persist. The consequence of continuing down the path of depleting resource stocks and overloading waste sinks (such as the atmosphere with GHG) is that markets will not adjust smoothly, but rather be faced with disruption. But are we resigned to one-planet misery? Or can we choose to design our path to one-planet prosperity, where all thrive within the ecological budget of our planet?
On Friday, Nov. 6 at 3:00 pm GMT, join Global Footprint Network President and Co-founder Mathis Wackernagel for a free webinar highlighting the risks of climate change. This webinar is part of the Scientists Warning Europe Planet in Crisis series. Reserve your spot today.