These are the people who need to change most- at least according to Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The study used current data to predict the environmental footprint of humanity in the year 2015. The findings indicate that affluence, population, and geography are the major determining factors for a societies footprint, while urbanization, economic structure, and age in and of themselves are not correlated with ecological impact. Affluence and population are no big surprise, given the fundamental system we use to power our wealth and production (Fossil Fuel). Interestingly, geography has become the third member of this group. Even though you might be lonely and poor, if you cut down part of the rainforest your impact on the world is quite large. Thus, not only do we need to address our systems of power production and asset creation, but we need to be quite careful that the sensitive areas are not compromised.The researchers looked at countries of at least one million people, using data from the World Wide Fund for Nature, United Nations reports and the World Bank. China and India, with their large populations and increasing wealth are slated for the largest share of the human footprint, representing 37 percent of the increase by 2015.
The researchers point out that a possible hope for China and India is that their new wealth can be spent on the next generation of sustainable and clean technology. The researchers also indicate the environmental importance and alarming destruction of the Amazon river basin- yes we all know it is happening, but the local and global implications are just now being fully understood. This report highlights that those societies living in compromising situations, where the environment is delicate (and often the people are oppressed), should increasingly be recognized as large environmental impactors. Finding sustainable solutions for these overlooked nations is an environmental, economic, political and ultimately a human effort. :: Eureka Alert ::ESA