Just two weeks ago, Lego announced the launch of sustainable, plant-based plastic figures to add to their collection of bricks, minifigure people and other accessories. Lego produce exclusively plastic products, a material which is not biodegradable and contributes to a large proportion of landfill.
Ecological debt is defined as the level of resource consumption and waste discharge by a population which is in excess of locally sustainable natural production and assimilative capacity. The term was coined in 1992 by the Insituto de Ecologia Politica in Santiago, Chile, wherein the production of greenhouse gases by the developed nations of the north was seen as inequitable. This was exacerbated by utilisation in the north of resources extracted in the south which imposed climatic and social changes not included in the calculations of international debt. Subsequently, a rich versus poor argument emerged, asserting that the impact of exploitation of finite natural resources from these nations had not been fully ‘compensated’ by price, royalties or licensing fees. Surrounding this was a series of ‘debt for nature’ agreements wherein some parts of a nation’s debt was erased in return for the designation of large wilderness areas. However, due to the inherently interrelated nature of ecology and ecosystems, ecological debt has now transcended the physical and political boundaries of any individual nation to become a global phenomenon that involves every person on earth in calculating the suggested debts through collective and individual behaviours worldwide.
Oxford Climate Society were honoured to welcome George Monbiot, Guardian columnist and author of the critically acclaimed Feral, for a talk on how stopping climate change means giving up meat. Monbiot is an internationally renowned environmental and political activist and writer, and as such holds a sphere of influence far outside that of the everyday student, yet his takeaway message from the talk was that individual action is the most important way in which we can tackle environmental problems.
Many people reading this article will have been inundated with information about the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. You may have seen the crashes, the successes and felt offended by how sporty people our age can be. In and amongst this you may or may not have noticed that the UK does rather poorly in the Winter Olympics compared to our summer performances. I’m glad we suck.
OCS Media and Research Team
The latest in climate science and policy from the OCS team.