Tuesday, 24 August 2010

August 24 and already in ecological debt for the year

This week, or 21 August to be more precise, the global population entered into ecological debt, according to the new economics foundation (nef) and Global Footprint Network. Putting to one side the way this budget was devised (it’s all to do with estimating the annual environmental resources generated minus the rate at which they are consumed) if the concept of ecological debt has any credibility, then there is something disturbing about its implications.

It is disturbing in the sense that the year’s provisions are used up before the summer is out, that the day this happens is creeping earlier each year, that the global haves are first in the queue for yet more resources, that the wastage is not generally for investment in future benefits, and with a growing population the increased expectations of consumption are demanded from all quarters irrespective of the pool of resources available to share.

Thinking of global consumption in terms of a budget has its advantages (and disadvantages) and it is not as if economists haven’t thought about debt in such terms before.