主頁 > 文章推介
Let!|s try using a financial analogy to explain the
basic concept of Ecological Footprint
by Tin-chee Wu 2004/10/19
Suppose you are the manager of a pension fund
has ten pensioners who would draw equal pensions.
You have a fund capital of one million dollars
invest. Assuming that the long term return for this
capital is 5% per year. Hence it will generate an
annual income of $50,000---this, when divided equally
among the 10 pensioners, will provide each with an
annual pension of $5,000.
However, Pensioners #1, 2, and 3 manage to
pensions of $6,000, $10,000, and $20,000. Therefore
only $14,000 are left for the remaining 7 pensioners.
If they share the remaining income equally, each will
get only a $2,000 pension.
[Note 1 : These three pensioners (#1, 2 and
3) are of
course the equivalent of the U.S.A., Canada,
Australia, and the Western European countries.]
You as a fund manager cannot increase either
capital or the rate of return.
Not only that, but lately these ten pensioners
been over-drawing the annual income of the pension
fund. In 1999, they received a total pension of
$60,000 (i.e., 20% above the fund earning). And of
course these top three pensioners have taken the
lion!|s share of this extra $10,000.
The way how such a higher payout was possible,
because part of the fund capital was depleted to pay
for it. So by 1999, you as a manager only had a
total capital of say $950,000 to invest for the
following year!|s pension payout. But once again, you
as a fund manager can also expect that by the next
year, every pensioner will demand not only a cost of
living allowance, but also an enhancement!
[Note 2 : While the figures used throughout
little fable are fictitious, this figure of 20% over
consumption is real. Since about 1980, the Earth!|s
total biocapacity began to be exceeded. By 1999, the
total resource demand exceeded supply by about 20%.
The technical way of saying this is that the total
ecological footprint of the world!|s population
exceeded the Earth!|s biocapacity by 20%. For many
Third World countries, the deficit is much higher.
Hence the global ecosystem is under so much stress.]
The conclusion from this example is that there
been an operating deficit only, but also a capital
deficit. And this is the situation where the Earth is
in today---there are both an unequal sharing of
resources as well as an ecological deficit."
Once you can follow the central concept explained
here, the rest are really technical details that are
needed to explain a complex issue such as this topic.
Hope this will help.