Africans' Modest Eco-footprint Still Has Negative Impacts in Some Countries

Madagascar Deforestation

photo by the World Resources Institute

We reported recently about Africa's changing environment due to climate change. Well, here's another way in which Africa is changing: Natural Resource Consumption.

According to a report presented at the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment this week, even though the average African has an Ecological Footprint of about 1.1 hectares. For comparison the global average is 2.2 hectares and the US average is about 9.7 hectares. Wealthy countries not alone in over-consumption
President of WWF International, Chief Emeka Anyaoku said, "Our research shows that the average African has a low environmental impact by Western standards, but a growing number of African countries are now depleting their national resources faster than they can be replaced." Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zimbabwe are all exceeding their national biological capacity.

Population pressures could easily exacerbate the problem: By 2050 Africa's population is expected to double from one-eight to one-quarter of world population.

Currently global natural resource consumption exceeds biocapacity by approximately 25%. By 2050, at current rates of economic and population growth the biocapacity on the planet will be exceeded by 100%. In other words, we will need the natural resources of two planets to supply humanity's needs.

Ecological constraints must lead development
Mathias Wackernagel of the Global Footprint Network states succinctly, "For lasting success [in creating a sustainable human wellbeing], we need to work with, rather than against, ecological budget constraints."

Not that Treehugger fans probably need be reminded of that eco-maxim, but at least in Tanzania the message has gotten through—the environment is now considered vital to their national Poverty Reduction Strategy.

If you want to dig deeper you can download the 2006 version of the Africa's Ecological Footprint report.

via :: ENN and :: Green Daily
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