Our ecological footprint
The ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on Earth’s ecosystems. Indicates the amount of land and sea surface biologically productive than a given population need to regenerate all resources consumed and eliminate the waste produced. By this measure we can calculate the number of planets similar to ours that would be needed to maintain consumption that carries certain lifestyles.
The global ecological footprint, of all humanity, is calculated annually by UN, but it is published with a delay of three years due to the time that they need to collect the from countries bureaus and individuals. The latest data was published in 2010, the global ecological footprint was estimated at 1.8 ha/person/year. If we were to share productive area of the planet, each one of the more than six billion people in the Earth would get 1.8 hectares to satisfy all your needs.
In addtion, the resources demand changes at the same time that the years pass. For example, in the middle of the 60 world’s population used the resources of three quarters of the planet, while currently used twice, 1.5 planets. If this trend continues humanity will need two planets by 2030 and almost three in 2050.
The aim was to raise awareness on the use and abuse of resources and ways to reduce their personal ecological footprint, to make it a little more appropriate to the amount of surface that we have on Earth. All participants were told what was the footprint, then they made a test to measure it. Once they had their scores they shared it and started a debate on how to improve their score or how they could be more respectful with the environment.
It was intended that each of the participants to understand the meaning of ecological footprint and implement it in their day to day. Now they know those behaviours that increase their footprint and all those who are able to improve it.
Climate change and Canary Islands
In this presentation, David showed to participants the specificities and fragilities of the Canary Islands environment.
Its volcanic origin and its situation, closer to Africa than Europe, explains its variety and richness in landscapes and natural environment. The weather of the Canaries determines everything in the islands, from the natural environment to human activities.
The Gulf cold Stream and the atlantic winds (Alisios winds) allow Canary Islands to have fresher temperatures being so close to one of the biggest deserts in the world: Sahara desert. Wet, soft and cold Alisios winds form the socalled “Sea of clouds” on the north of the highest islands. This phenomena creates the horizontal rain and preserves the greenforest, a ancient forest. But when these trade winds stop, winds coming from Sahara bring tons of sand and increase temperature dramatically.
This precarious balance between winds is slowly changing due to Climate Change, so now its more frequent the dominant fresh and wet winds from northeast vary and let dry and hot winds come from Sahara. This stops horizontal rain and normal rain, forests dry and there are more fires at summer.
In Canary Islands and mainly in Tenerife, doesn’t rain so much as needed, so thousands of galleries has being dug to extract water that leaks through the ground. As there are less clouds and rain, in the recent years more and more desalination plants are needed, consuming more energy and polluting.
This presentation introduced the existing challenge for Canary Islands to adapt to the Climate Change and avoid to loose such natural biodiversity.
The best way to end this two workshops was watching a beatiful timelapse done by Daniel López: