2 March 2024

He ecological deficit It is an indicator that measures the imbalance between the consumption of natural resources and the regeneration capacity of ecosystems. This instability implies that humanity is living beyond the means of the planet, depleting its resources and upsetting its natural balance.

In this article we will expand in detail what is an ecological deficitand we will present the causes, their impact and possible solutions for a sustainable future.

Importance of the ecological deficit

According to data from the Global Footprint Network organization, which calculates Earth Overshoot Day every year, the Earth entered into an ecological deficit on July 28, 2022.

This date indicates the moment when humanity has consumed all natural resources that the planet can regenerate in a year, such as food, water, wood or energy.

This means that, as of that date, humanity is living on credit with nature and that we are depleting its reserves and deteriorating its resilience.

After the last calculation, the NGO has indicated that to meet the current demands of humanity, it would take 1.7 planet Earths. In 2023, August 2 marks Earth Overshoot Day, according to data provided by the Global Footprint Network organization.

Therefore, the ecological deficit is very important for humanitysince it shows us the impact that our way of life has on the planet and the consequences that it can have for the future of man as a species and of nature.

Causes of the ecological deficit

The causes that cause an ecological deficit are related to a series of factors. The most relevant are:

  • colossal emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
  • Deforestation.
  • Excessive fishing.
  • Water pollution and loss of natural habitats.
  • Increase in population and increasing consumption of natural resources.

Impact of the ecological deficit

This phenomenon negatively alters the conditions of the planet, and consequently directly affects the environment and the quality of life of all living beings. He impact on humanity specifically, it is reflected in human health, economic productivity and social well-being.

The consequences are:

  • Scarcity of natural resources.
  • Biodiversity loss.
  • Soil degradation.
  • Pollution of water and air.
  • Climate change.

Sectors affected by the ecological deficit

All the sectors of society and the economy They are affected by the ecological deficit, since they all depend, to a lesser or greater extent, on natural resources and the ecosystem services they provide.

Some of the sectors most affected by the ecological deficit are:

  • Agricultural and livestock sector: is threatened by loss of fertile soil, water scarcity, pests and diseases, and competition for land use.
  • Energy sector: It is greatly affected by fossil fuels, which are one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
  • Fishing sector: suffers from overexploitation and depletion of marine resources, as well as degradation of coastal and oceanic habitats.
  • Tourism sector: It is impacted by climate change and the lack of conservation of biodiversity, which in turn affects the landscape.
  • health sector: It is affected by the increase in infectious diseases, allergies, stress and mental problems of people who contribute to environmental deterioration.

Solutions to address the ecological deficit

To minimize the ecological deficit, it is necessary that all the actors in society become aware of the problem. This includes governments, companies and citizens, who must adopt measures to reduce its ecological footprint. This footprint refers to the impact that its activities have on natural resources and ecosystems.

Some of the proposed solutions are:

  • Reduce meat consumptionsince livestock is one of the activities that contributes the most to the emission of greenhouse gases.
  • consume less water using tools that help us save this scarce and vital resource, such as devices that regulate the flow or that indicate actual consumption.
  • recycle materials avoiding waste and the generation of waste that pollutes the environment and consumes energy in its treatment.
  • Optimize consumption using efficient appliances, taking advantage of natural light, turning off devices that are not used and monitoring their consumption with applications or smart devices.
  • Support eco-businesses that use renewable and non-polluting sources to generate electricity, such as solar, wind or hydraulic.
  • produce energy installing solar panels or wind turbines in homes or businesses, which also means long-term financial savings.
  • sustainable mobilityusing public transport, cycling or walking whenever possible, and avoiding the use of a private car or plane, which are the most polluting means.
  • Responsible consumption, choosing local, organic and seasonal products, which require less transportation and less use of pesticides or fertilizers. Excessive or unnecessary consumption of goods and services that generate greater ecological footprint.

Role of technology in mitigating the ecological deficit

technology without a doubt can play a key role in mitigating the ecological deficit, using it responsibly and efficiently. Here we mention some of the ways in which this can be possible.

  • Waste management: through collection, treatment and recycling systems that take advantage of waste as resources and avoid its contamination.
  • Energy efficiency: through the use of smart devices that optimize the consumption of electricity, water and gas. In addition, they allow monitoring and control of the use of these resources.
  • Sustainable mobility: facilitating access for people to use electric or hybrid vehicles that emit fewer polluting gases. The use of alternative means such as bicycles or electric scooters can also be encouraged.
  • Biodiversity conservation with the use of technologies such as sensors, drones, cameras or satellites that allow monitoring and protecting the ecosystem health and threatened species.

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