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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Some of the most interesting new ideas of recent years have been included in reports by the New Economics Forum (NEF) They introduced me to Clone Towns and to Ghost Town Britain, and flagged up the increasing power of the multiples in our lives. They also explored the idea of whether we can afford to be Happy and what that means for the planet.
Now they have produced a report which looks at the links that the UK has with the rest of the planet, and the key date of April 15th
Once we have passed that date the UK has effectively used up its own resource capacity, and from that date for the rest of the year we are basically 'eating the planet', as we have exhausted our own resources.
As the report says:
"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 report is available to download as a PDF file from the NEF site, and runs to 35 pages. This would make a rather good resource if adapted for any age group. The new KS3 curriculum offers an oppportunity for work on footprints and sustainability to appear in Year 7 schemes, and of course it's never too late to prepare the citizens of tomorrow for the responsibilities they have to continue to change their lifestyles and influence those of their parents.

Thanks to the Kingsdown Geography blog for posting about this report and starting me on this particular 'tangent'.

The report then led me to TRANSITION REPORT blog. This is based on the theme of ENERGY DESCENT: the change from fossil fuel based economy to a post-fossil fuel based economy. Lots of interesting links and avenues to explore. Interesting posting on the report, which explores the issues, summarised in the quote below:

"The concept of ecological debt is straightforward. Once we start to live beyond our ecological footprint, we require the resources of other nations in order to sustain our lifestyles. It is a nonsense, Simms argued in ‘Ecological Debt’, to talk of third world debt, really we in the developed West have so plundered these nations for so long that we actually owe them the most enormous debt."

Also a mention of Arsenal FC as an example of this plundering of other countries.

There is also a posting on a rather good article by Simon Fairlie on urban heat and rural heat.

A report in the GUARDIAN on the report.
I'm a couple of weeks behind on picking up this story, but got there in the end.

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