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Posted: 6/29/2002 7:36:58 PM EDT
Earth Cannot Meet Human Demand For Resources By Christopher Doering 6-29-2 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The consumption of forests, energy and land by humans is exceeding the rate at which Earth can replenish itself, according to research published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, conducted by California-based Redefining Progress, a nonprofit group concerned with environmental conservation and its economics, warned that a failure to rein in humanity's overuse of natural resources could send the planet into "ecological bankruptcy." Earth's resources "are like a pile of money anyone can grab while they all close their eyes, but then it's gone," said Mathis Wackernagel, lead author of the study and a program director at Redefining Progress. Scientists said humanity's demand for resources had soared during the past 40 years to a level where it would take the planet 1.2 years to regenerate what people remove each year. The impact by humans on the environment had inched higher since 1961 when public demand was 70 percent of the planet's regenerative capacity, the study showed. "If we don't live within the budget of nature, sustainability becomes futile," Wackernagel said. The study, which details the population's impact on the Earth with a quantitative number, measured the "ecological footprint" of human activities such as marine fishing, harvesting timber, building infrastructure and burning fossil fuel that emits carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Researchers then used government data and various estimates to determine how much land would be required to meet human demand for those actions. For example, Wackernagel and his team found that in 1999, each person consumed an average of 5.7 acres (2.3 hectares). The global average was significantly lower than industrialized countries such as the United States and United Kingdom where 24 acres (9.6 hectares) and 13.3 acres (5.3 hectares), respectively, were consumed per person. "ECOLOGICAL BANKRUPTCY" In order to develop a formula that measured humanity's consumption with the Earth's regenerative capacity, the researchers were forced to reach several assumptions and omit the use of some resources because of insufficient data. The results, for example, excluded the impact of local freshwater use and the release of solid, liquid or gaseous pollutants other than CO2 into the environment. Even though the findings revealed that human use of resources was far outstripping Earth's supply, it stopped short of determining how long the process could continue without detrimental consequences. "Like any responsible business that keeps track of spending and income to protect financial assets, we need ecological accounts to protect our natural assets," Wackernagel said. "And if we don't ... we will prepare for ecological bankruptcy." Wackernagel said the study's results could be used to gauge the impact of new technologies and how they affect the environment. The use of an alternative technology, such as one that produces renewable energy or replaces natural biological processes, could allow society to live better without increasing consumption, he said.
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Link Posted: 6/29/2002 7:39:16 PM EDT
Governments could also determine the impact consumers and businesses were having on depleting area resources and evaluate potential ways to reduce consumption, Wackernagel said.
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After reading this arcticle I have decided that human beings will no longer be allowed to live on the earth. As it is damaging to the planet... Environmentalist Wackos<--- Communists dressed up to look like .... Well uh Communists Ben
Link Posted: 6/29/2002 7:46:18 PM EDT
Man, I am SO scared.
Link Posted: 6/29/2002 9:18:11 PM EDT
You think that's bad. We're also using up [url=http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/621644/posts]too much sun[/url]
Link Posted: 6/29/2002 9:18:48 PM EDT
"ahhhhhhhh, hippies, they want to save the world but all they do is smoke pot and smell bad. ahhhhhh!" - Cartman Mike
Link Posted: 6/29/2002 9:27:25 PM EDT
I don't have a hard time being a conservative environmentalist. And I don't think that you have to be one or the other, either.
Link Posted: 6/29/2002 9:35:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/29/2002 9:35:40 PM EDT by TREETOP]
They say over 3/4 of the earth's surface is covered with dihydrogen monoxide, too...
Link Posted: 6/29/2002 9:38:34 PM EDT
The consumption of forests? Can you say renewable resource?
Link Posted: 6/29/2002 9:41:37 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TREETOP: They say over 3/4 of the earth's surface is covered with dihydrogen monoxide, too...
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Man that dihydrogen monoxide is some nasty sh!t, it will kill you if you are not careful with it.
Link Posted: 6/29/2002 10:44:14 PM EDT
Hmm, I think that the article has a point. I don't know for sure one way or the other, but if you look at what people are doing to this planet.. I am not surprised (though I am saddened) to hear that things will run out. The basic premise is simple to grasp, isn't it? There is no free lunch, and things run out eventually. People cut down forests, and trees take time to re-grow. At the same time, houses are built, cities spread, and the amount of area for forests runs lower and lower. Pollution rises, and there's only a certain limit as to how much CO2 the dwindling forests can scrub out of the air. There's certainly only a limited amount of fossil fuel, and that has to be getting used up quickly. As far as the sun article.. I feel that the lady (Elizabeth Sawin) is a nutcase. However, the guy writing the article seems to make a few stupid remarks as well. 1. [b]Its mass makes up more than 99.9 percent of the solar system. This is necessary to insure that its gravitational attraction is great enough to hold the entire system together.[/b] This statement doesn't really make sense. It's not like someone wrote up a requirements document saying, "We need to make sure that the solar system is held together; make the sun 99.9% of the mass of the solar system." The mass of the sun is only necessary for the nuclear fusion to take place; less massive and it wouldn't be a star. 2. [b]Can you imagine anyone being able to determine with certainty the use of solar energy by all the grasses, plants and forests of the earth? No, of course, you can't.[/b] Just because [i]I[/i] can't imagine anyone being able to do that doesn't mean that it's not possible. I can't imagine how they say that there are 100 billion stars in our galaxy, but it doesn't mean that it's not impossible for them to figure that out. I can't imagine how they can smash atoms together, but they can. I can't imagine how they can determine with certainty the national budget. Just because one person can't doesn't mean that someone else can.
Link Posted: 6/29/2002 10:55:28 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ERAUFox People cut down forests, and trees take time to re-grow. At the same time, houses are built, cities spread, and the amount of area for forests runs lower and lower. I lived in the south for years, and worked with loggers down there. Did you know that most of the trees from south Texas to South Carolina are cut down every ten years? They plant hy-breds that only take ten years to grow to full maturity. They start in south Texas and move across the southern US. In ten years they reach South Carolina, and then they start all over again. Most of this timber is used for paper. And by the way we consume far more trees for paper than anything else.
Link Posted: 6/30/2002 12:09:52 AM EDT
About the mass of the sun... While the Sun ("Sol") is actually considered a "smallish" star, this has little to do with its mass. The size of a star is dependent upon its age to a large extent, and to the material available to fuel the fusion reaction. As the better materials deplete (Hydrogen thru Carbon) the star gets larger as the reaction gets LESS energetic and less able to sustain itself. As far as the mass being necessary to hold things together - entirely correct. The force of gravity is DIRECTLY proportional to the mass of thw two objects involved and INVERSELY proportional to the SQUARE of the distance centre-to-centre. Therefore - all else being equal - double the mass, double the gravity. Double the distance, reduce gravity TO one-quarter. Treble the distance, and gravity will be ONE-EIGHTH of original. Translate to astronomical distances - look up how far out Neptune or Saturn is. If the answer is given in Astronomical Unite (AU) - multiply by roughly 93,000,000 to get an answer in miles. One AU = mean annual distance between Earth and Sol... FFZ
Link Posted: 6/30/2002 12:18:31 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/30/2002 1:10:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/30/2002 1:39:10 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/30/2002 1:52:39 AM EDT
I read somewhere that the percentage of Earth covered by forests is a lot higher today than in recent history due to advances in fighting fires. Not sure if it's true, but I don't believe much of anything that comes from a Kalifornia based environmental group either.
Link Posted: 6/30/2002 2:01:59 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/30/2002 3:56:59 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DoubleFeed:
Originally Posted By gus: I read somewhere that the percentage of Earth covered by forests is a lot higher today than in recent history due to advances in fighting fires. Not sure if it's true, but I don't believe much of anything that comes from a Kalifornia based environmental group either.
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Check with Arizona to ask about the wisdom of this.
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Why? It's true - there is more forested area today than there was 100 or even 50 years ago because we're able to fight and stop most forest fires. We may not be able to stop them all, and the ones we do stop still burn hundreds of thousands of acres, but how much more forest do you think the Denver fires would have burned if people hadn't fought it? What really chapped my ass about that article is how they compared the 24 acres per person in the USA to the 5.7 acres global average. First of all, most of the forests that are being cut down are located in poor countries (Brazil, Indonesia, etc) whose people don't "consume" as much as we do in the USA. We don't get anything from the 100 acres of rain forest destroyed per second (or whatever the figure is), after all, and I highly doubt that Brazil or Indonesia are going to use the land more wisely than nature did. Also, the world gets much more from the USA than it does from the poor countries - we can justify what we use by the amounts of what we produce, in other words. All in all, the tone of the article seems to transform it from what should have been a well-intentioned and not-entirely-untrue look at resource usage into the same tired old liberal class-envy.
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