How the world sustains the nation’s lifestyles and the price it pays
Andrew Simms, Dan Moran, Peter Chowla
14 April 2007
At current levels of natural resource use in the UK, the average person goes into ecological debt on 16 April.
As our total consumption grows, the day on which we begin consuming beyond our environmental means moves earlier in the year. In 1961 it was 9 July. By 1981 Britain’s ecological debt day was reached almost two months earlier on 14 May. The world as a whole is also living beyond its ecosystems’ capacity to regenerate itself — leading to long-term, overall environmental degradation — and goes into ecological debt on 23 October.
In a comprehensive overview of the UK’s place in the international system The UK Interdependence Report reveals how the nation is being woven into an ever closer and more complicated economic, cultural and social fabric, with both positive and negative consequences.
Above all, the report raises huge questions about how radically the UK’s patterns of interdependence will have to change if our economy and lifestyles are to become remotely sustainable.
A positive future, it suggests, will only be guaranteed through a paradigm shift in government policy away from ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’ economic competitiveness, towards the cooperation demanded by our inescapable interdependence.
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