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Tracking the ecological overshoot of the human economy

By Mathis Wackernagel, Niels B. Schulz, Diana Deumling, Alejandro Callejas Linares, Martin Jenkins, Valerie Kapos, Chad Monfreda, Jonathan Loh, Norman Myers, Richard Norgaard and Jørgen Randers

Abstract

Sustainability requires living within the regenerative capacity of the biosphere. In an attempt to measure the extent to which humanity satisfies this requirement, we use existing data to translate human demand on the environment into the area required for the production of food and other goods, together with the absorption of wastes. Our accounts indicate that human demand may well have exceeded the biosphere's regenerative capacity since the 1980s. According to this preliminary and exploratory assessment, humanity's load corresponded to 70% of the capacity of the global biosphere in 1961, and grew to 120% in 1999

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1073/pnas.142033699
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:123129
Provided by: PubMed Central
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