I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth I mean by that. Well, that’s precisely what I mean – take “your” footprint off, erm, other people’s land!
By “your” I mean Europe and by “footprint” I mean the amount of land that is used domestically plus land consumed to produce imported products minus the land used for producing products that are exported.
Phew! Get it? No ok even simpler it means that Europe is consuming more resources than its entire area infact a staggering 40% of the continent is dependent on land from outside its borders! These facts from a new report released last week by Friends of the Earth also shows that the UK uses more than one and a half times its surface area to keep us fed, driving cars, watching ipods and swanning around in a onesie!
Now that’s a figure that shocked me especially when I read further and the report showed the “hidden impacts” of how Europe’s resource over-consumption is contributing to global land conflicts and affects the environment.
Is this land grabbing any way justified? You could argue that Europe is the second-smallest continent in terms of surface area so it does need to use more resources to support its vast population. But when you realise the social impact of land-grabbing is depriving some of the world’s poorest communities of their fair share, the size of Europe doesn’t seem like a good-enough reason after all.
The report claims products we consume in Britain directly contribute to water shortages, destruction of forests and people in poorer nations losing their land. To make it worse we waste a lot of what we consume. According to figures from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, around a third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally – which amounts to around 1.3 billion tonnes per year.
So what can we conclude? Europe and we in the UK are consuming more than our fair share and to make it worse we are wasting a lot of what we take. Now if you were in one of the poor nations supplying goods to us how would you feel? I think we all need to realise asking the developing nations to cut consumption, pollution and birth rates sounds good but before we castigate them, it’s time we looked at ourselves.
Our greed could be the biggest problem of them all….