“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
As college students, we are often preoccupied with our own daily lives and unfocused on the many social problems that plague our world today. One of these problems is the contribution of overexploitation and overconsumption to our ecological footprint in the United States. Earth is facing impacts that will be detrimental to the environment in which we live our lives. It is up to us to change things and set a precedent for a new way of living. This goal of this website is to provide you with realistic alternatives to activities that may contribute to overconsumption in the United States.
But why should we change our habits? To answer this question, each alternative presented on this website will be accompanied by research explaining the effects of overconsumption, and what could happen should it continue.
First, lets explore the overall conditions Earth is currently in:
Shown below in figure 1 is the amount of land and water area the human population uses to provide for their needs and absorb their wastes. The area of the graph that is purple shows our observed consumption, as you can see there is 1.5 worlds at the 2007 mark on the figure. This means that in order to sustain our way of living at this time, we require one and a half worlds. And unfortunately, it gets worse. An ideal situation is shown in orange where we can return back to only consuming the resources that could be provided to us through one Earth. However, shown in red is what could happen if we continue on with consumption as is. In this case, it is estimated that we will require the resources from 2.25 worlds by 2050.
Figure One. Shown is the observed ecological footprint as well as the expected ecological footprint (Krosby, 1/7/14).
Where are these resources coming from, specifically? Figure two shows us where the impacts of our ecological footprint can be seen, with the areas of major impact shown in red. Areas that are being destructively impacted will be further discussed with specific issues within this website. Read on!
Figure Two. The human terrestrial footprint, areas of high impact are shown in red (Billo, 1/14/14)