India ranked third in ecological footprint in the world, after China and USA
On Monday, August 8, the world exhausted nature’s budget of natural resources for the entire year as a result of increased consumption levels, according to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) release. Observed as Earth Overshoot Day, the day marked the beginning of the world operating in overshoot for the rest of the year by exerting excess pressure on the planet for any resources drawn, according to the Global Footprint Network, which calculates overshoot data.
With population growth and increasing consumption, Earth Overshoot Day has moved from late September in 2000 to August 8 this year.
India, which has a low per capita consumption of natural resources, ranks third in its ecological footprint due to its high population levels, a detailed note released by the organisation said. The country comes after China and USA in the list. Data from the National Footprint Accounts 2016 by World Bank suggests that cropland and forest footprints were the largest components of India’s overall ecological footprint, until the late 1980s, when the carbon footprint took over in the late 2000s. India’s carbon footprint currently makes up 53 per cent of the country’s overall Ecological Footprint, the WWF has said.
What is Ecological footprint?
Ecological footprint is the measure of the impact humans have on the environment. A country’s ecological footprint is the sum of all the cropland, grazing land, forest and fishing grounds required to produce the food, fibre and timber it consumes, to absorb the wastes emitted when it uses energy and to provide space for infrastructure, according to the WWF.
The Earth is already exhausted so early in the year because the world now emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than our oceans and forests can absorb, and fisheries and harvest forests are depleted far more quickly than they can reproduce and replenish, the WWF note said. While economies, populations and resource demands grow, the size of Earth and its natural resource base remains the same. Presently, the world consumes as much as 1.6 Earths can provide.
Ecological overshoot is only possible for a limited time before ecosystems begin to degrade and possibly collapse, the WWF notes. “Impacts of ecological overspending are apparent already in soil erosion, desertification, reduced cropland productivity, overgrazing, deforestation, rapid species extinction, fisheries collapse and increased carbon concentration in the atmosphere,” the organisation has said