Two days ago I walked down to the lower uni. On my way down, I saw a notice board full of announcements and advertisements about events happening in my uni. I smiled while I was passing through. You might wonder why I was smiling. It was because I did not see the announcements I put there two days before. Someone irresponsibly removed it and arrogantly put his/her announcements on the board. But of course, it is lawful to remove other announcements and put on our own announcements without giving notice. I was smiling and whispering ‘we’re just competing using that board!’
Don’t you notice that it also happens in our beloved world? Our world is running out of space! We just don’t realise it because we are too concentrating on using its resources and forget that it is getting over-exploited. We, humans are competing in using its resource, believe it or not!!
I am sure you are familiar with Robert Thomas Malthus, aren’t you? He was a British Scholar who was popular with his analysis saying that sooner or later the world will suffer from famine and widespread mortality because improvement in society including natural resources cannot follow the exponential population growth. However, other scholars claim that his analysis diminishes the big achievement of technology that can give lots of improvements in the society, including the production of food. Well, I am not trying to be pro one argument and against the other. I just imagine what will happen, let say, 10 or 20 years from now.
We might feel secure by looking at the advance of the technology. We think that we always can overcome the problems of famine, climate change, lack of oil and natural resources, ozone depletion, etc. Recently, many scholars are trying to find answers to these problems. Even though there is no definite solution yet, we might be very sure that they will finally find the answer one day. As the result of feeling secure of the role of the technology, we keep using any resources that this world offers.
Do you know that by calculation your ecological footprints, you can actually know whether this world can still feed us or not? ‘Ecological footprints’ (EF) is the amount of land needed by a person to fulfill his/her needs. Even though this tool has many limitations, it is still useful to see how your consumption pattern influences the world capacity of producing food. If you’re interested in calculating your EF, please click this .Then you might ask what the number means after calculation my EF.
Let me explain. In average, total EF of the world is 2,2 ha/person. People in OECD countries have EF 4 ha/person. This means each person in these countries needs 4 ha land to fulfill their needs, while in other parts of the world, let say, in Asia-Pacific and in Africa, ecological footprints/person is 1.3 ha and 1.1 ha respectively. This number can change anytime, depends on the consumption pattern of the people. If at last, the EF footprints each person in this world (there are around 6 billion people in the world) follow the pattern in OECD countries, which is 4 ha/person, or even higher, calculation says that we definitely need at least 3 earths to feed all humans in this world.
There are lots of people paying attention to this problem, including the environmentalists. Some people even choose to change their consumption pattern in order to reduce their EF and hope to contribute to the humanity. But, let us to be realistic, will it be successful to get us out of this problem? I am afraid to honestly say that we desperately need another world, world which its space is unlimited. But is there?