Establishing the Ecological Footprint can help us get to grips with questions like how much natural resource do we have at our disposal? How much of it are we using? How fast? And how fast are we running out of it?
Can you imagine living in a world without fresh food, fish, timber or fibre? A world with such scarcity would profoundly affect the functioning of businesses, communities and countries.
The stark fact is that globally we are living off the planet’s ecological credit card. We're consuming natural resources faster than they can be produced. We don't know how long the planet can sustain this level of overexploitation. Already there are signs of some of the impacts of having a high Ecological Footprint: rising global temperatures and climate change; biodiversity loss; deforestation; collapsing fisheries; growing water and food insecurity. Left unchecked, this will affect, people, economies and countries.
The Ecological Footprint tool can also make another fascinating calculation: it can tell us how many planet Earths we would need to sustain our way of life at the present rate! It does this by comparing the world’s biocapacity of 2.1 with the world’s Ecological Footprint of 2.7. Thus all nations in the world currently live and consume the equivalent of 1.3 planets worth of natural resources (2.7/2.1 = 1.3). This can also be done for nations and is calculated for the UAE in the section ‘What is the Ecological Footprint of the UAE?’
Without this vital information we cannot develop strategies that will truly help us combat the problems we are experiencing with our Ecological Footprint credit crunch. Left unaddressed, the reality that could face is a world with no natural resources