Earth Day began in 1970, founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as a teach-in to educate students, with a wider aim of bringing environmental considerations into the public eye. Nelson had been inspired by the large-scale student anti-war movement across America, and realised that this was a path through which environmental considerations could be brought to the national political agenda.
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.
Target chains and independents known for their sustainable practices
For example in Oxford Jericho Coffee Traders (their beans are sourced directly from farms via a specialised coffee trader, ensuring farmers are paid a fair wage. Take the time to look around your local area and online for such institutions!
OCS Media and Research Team
The latest in climate science and policy from the OCS team.