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Environmentalism of the Rich$
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Peter Dauvergne

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034951

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034951.001.0001

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Consuming the Earth

Consuming the Earth

(p.53) 5 Consuming the Earth
Environmentalism of the Rich

Peter Dauvergne

The MIT Press

The ecological footprint of humanity, as this chapter documents, is now over 1.5 times higher than the earth’s capacity to regenerate renewable resources and assimilate waste. This crisis is worsening as the biological integrity of ecosystems continues to decline and as the global ecological footprint continues to rise (with per capita footprints rising in most countries). This chapter documents some of the accompanying ecological costs of rising rates of unsustainable consumption for forests, oceans, freshwater, soils, species, and the global climate. More than half of the world’s tropical forests have been cleared since 1950, with loggers, ranchers, and plantation owners continuing to clear millions of hectares a year. The global climate is warming, glaciers are melting, and ocean currents are shifting. And each day another 10 to 500 species (of the earth’s 8–9 million species) are going extinct.

Keywords:   climate change, ecological footprint, ecosystems, oceans, renewable resources, species loss, tropical forests, unsustainable consumption

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