Scotland welcomed today's (9/1/03) publication of the Executives Cities
Review, with its assessment of the damaging consumption patterns of Scotland's
five big cities. The report reveals that Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Dundee and Inverness consume more than twice their fair share of the Earth's
resources, as measured by their ecological footprint (1). If all the people
in the world consumed like Scotland's big urban populations, we would
need between two and three planets to support ourselves!
"Our greedy habits are too much for the world's natural resources
to bear," said Head of Policy for WWF Scotland Dr Richard Dixon,
"We consume too much imported food when we could be eating local
produce, throw away far more than we recycle and choose to drive rather
than walk, cycle or take public transport."
Late last year the London City Limits Review (2) calculated that each
Londoner needs 6.63 global hectares to provide the energy, food and raw
material they need to survive (the global average is 2.2 gha, the equivalent
of three football pitches).
In the reports 'league table' of Scottish cities Glasgow scored lowest
with 5.37 global hectares per person, followed by Dundee with 5.51, Edinburgh
with 5.60 and finally Aberdeen on 5.87. Inverness was not included in
the league due to a lack of reliable data. The report looked at the levels
of waste, imports and exports, as well as consumption of raw materials
such as energy to assess the global footprint of the main cities.
"Scotland's burgeoning urban centers are not far behind London, which
would needs a land mass the size of Spain to support it sustainably. This
report shows that despite growing evidence of climate change and pollution
of our air and rivers, Scotland is still burning up a disproportionate
share of the world's finite resources," commented Dr Dixon
"All credit to the Executive for calculating our cities' ecological
footprint. Now it needs to take these new figures seriously and come up
with a national strategy to reduce our global impact. I urge politicians
and local authorities to carry out an urgent, more detailed review of
our consumption patterns and set clear targets and dates for reducing
our global footprint," added Dr Dixon.
WWF Scotland is campaigning to encourage Scots to reduce their individual
footprint through a series of simple actions:
Take public transport, walk or cycle whenever possible.
local produce rather than imported food. A staggering 81% of all food
consumed in London in 2000 came from outside the UK.
Reduce the amount of waste we produce including recycling more paper,
glass, cans and organic material.
Conserve energy by better insulating the home, switching off lights and
using energy efficient domestic appliances.
(1) Every community, be it Edinburgh or Aberfeldy, has an impact on the
earth. We all rely on the products and services of nature, both to supply
us with raw materials and absorb our waste.
The big question is whether this load is more than nature can bear. Looking
at areas such as transport, food and water consumption and waste the Ecological
Footprint analysis comes up with the equivalent hectares of land the individual
or community is using up to support itself. For example if all the biologically
productive land and sea on the planet is divided by the number of people
inhabiting it, the result is a statistical average of 2.2 ha available
for each person
The Footprint analysis shows clearly the degree of overshoot between supply
(land available for each country's use) and demand (land actually used).
According to the WWF Living Planet report we already need the equivalent
of 1.2 planets to support ourselves at current rates of consumption.
The WWF Living Planet report analyses the impact on wildlife of global
consumption patterns: http://www.panda.org/news_facts/publications/general/livingplanet/index.cfm
(2) The London City Limits review was published in September 2002 and
can be downloaded from www.citylimitslondon.com
(3) A Government sponsored project is underway to calculate a detailed
Ecological Footprint for the whole of Scotland. WWF Scotland sit on the
advisory group for this project, which is expected to report at the end
of this year.
You can calculate your own footprint on the planet on the New Scientist's
For further information or graphics, please contact Jamie
article was kindly provided by ScoWaste a mailing list run by SRMS for
RAGS and FoE