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Portugal Exhausts 2023 Quota of Natural Resources

According to data on the country’s ecological footprint released by the Environmental Association – Zero. Today, Portugal officially depleted its 2023 natural resources and now has begun to use its 2024 quota.

If humanity has a consumption rate equal to that of Portugal the resources for this year would run out today. Or, put another way, “if every person on the planet lived like an average Portuguese person, humanity would require about 2.9 planets to sustain its resource needs.”

The updated data this year, in partnership with the “Global Footprint Network” organisation, indicate that the current trend is equal to last year (070522) when the country starts to use its unrepayable environmental credit card.

“Portugal has for many years been unable to stay within its natural resource capacity for its primary activities (production and consumption). The most worrying thing is that the Portuguese ‘environmental debt’ is increasing,” warns Zero.

This imbalance is caused by several factors, including: Food consumption (30% of the country’s global footprint) and mobility (18%) are among the human activities that contribute the most to Portugal’s Ecological Footprint and thus constitute critical points for Footprint mitigation interventions.

Zero official data shows that Portugal’s circular economy is approximately 2.2% when the community average is 13%. On average Portuguese citizens eat about three times more animal protein than they should, to the detriment of vegetables and fruits, and that only 9.7% of the gross final consumption of energy in transport comes from renewable sources.

To reduce the Portuguese environmental debt, Zero says that agriculture should be more focused on quality food, preserving the soil, and reducing pollution and water use, greater emphasis on telework is needed, reducing travel, investment in soft modes of transport and public transport, as well as in the sustainability of products (repair, reuse and recycle).

Every citizen can contribute to this reduction by eating less meat and more fruits and vegetables. Sustainable transport such as public transport, walking, or cycling and bringing about an end to the ‘throw away’ society that we live in.

According to data from the “Global Footprint Network”, countries such as Germany (May 04) or France (May 05) have also exhausted their resources for this year. Spain will exhaust its resources on the 12th.

According to the map, the first country to exhaust its environmental resources for this year was Qatar, as early as the 10th of February, followed by Luxembourg four days later. In March, countries such as Canada, the United States, Australia, Belgium, and Denmark exhausted their resources. In April Sweden, Austria, Russia, and Ireland, and this month the United Kingdom, Greece, and Hungary.

The data indicates that it would take 5.1 planets if we all lived like North Americans, Australian lifestyles equate to 4.5 planets, while India shows a surprising 0.8 planets.

The Ecological Footprint assesses the human need for renewable resources and essential services and compares them with the Earth’s ability to provide such resources and services, biocapacity.

The association explains that the Ecological Footprint measures the use of cultivated land, forests, pastures, and fishing areas for the supply of resources and absorption of waste (for example, carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels), and that biocapacity measures the amount of biologically productive area available to regenerate these resources and services.

All in all, we are living on borrowed time.

Samantha Gannon

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