We seek to raise awareness about escalating global ecological overshoot, which has been caused by developed countries who have pursued an ecologically damaging economic growth paradigm. Some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are based on this damaging paradigm and do not recognise planetary limitations. We have identified SDGs 7, 8, 9 and 11 as flawed in this respect, and consequently are not appropriate aspirations because they are ‘unsustainable’. We intend to challenge these four SDGs and suggest how they might be reworded. We recognise that the economic growth paradigm has caused the current ecological collapse, therefore the rewrite of SDG8 is the most urgent, the latest proposal is available here.
We wish to inspire all countries to actively pursue an urgent reduction in their own ecological overshoot, with the aspiration to eliminate global ecological overshoot as soon as possible, and to reduce the needs for humanity to less than the biocapacity of half the Earth. This target should allow scope for biodiversity to recover from its current very depleted state. To achieve this we recognise the need to raise awareness and understanding about the concept of ecological overshoot and all of its key drivers. In order to raise collective awareness about ecological overshoot, and to start a global conversation about our collective responsibility towards our eco-system, we shall be proposing a ‘Declaration of Human Responsibility’ with the wording supplied below:
Declaration of Human Responsibility: “In recognition that our environmental impact is a product of our population size and the way that we utilise our affluence and technology; everyone should aspire to use their free-choice and their personal affluence and technology to stop exceeding the capacity of our environment as soon as possible. Every country should aspire to reduce its ecological overshoot to less than 50% of the biocapacity available within its borders, according to the data from the Global Footprint Network. School systems worldwide need to prioritise the understanding of ecological footprint, ecological balance and the need for conservation of at least 50% of the planet for non-livestock vertebrates to be free to evolve in the natural fashion. Human intervention in wildlife populations is to be discouraged unless an invasive species is deemed to be a serious threat to either local or global eco-systems.”“
This concept of ‘Human Responsibility’ is intended go beyond traditional politics and religion and to create a moral obligation in everyone to consider the ecological cost whenever they use their affluence or technology. It will also serve to warn young adults that the future environment will not be resilient enough to support their offspring for the kind of life-expectancy that we have enjoyed, because our eco-system is currently in the process of rapid collapse.
We shall approach all relevant NGO’s who campaign about climate, environment or population issues, seeking collective support prior to submitting these proposals to the UN for consideration. We may also seek support from higher education institutions. Ideally we shall be in a position to launch the idea fully into the public domain in a collective webinar to be aired either on 5 June World Environment Day or 11 July World Population Day. This webinar will coincide with the launch of the petition to collect electronic signatures from individuals globally in support of the new ‘Declaration of Human Responsibility’ and the revisions to SDGs 7, 8, 9 and 11’.
The hope is that the global conversation about a ‘Declaration of Human Responsibility’ will generate a demand for educational resources to help people understand how we are damaging our environment with our affluent lifestyles, and what changes in their behaviour will help to reduce ecological overshoot.
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