US sustainability begets Hawaii self-sufficiency?

reducing footprints

The best we can assume about our American footprint is that it will lighten significantly in the decades ahead...in which case Hawaii may provide a good test case.

It certainly lends a whole new meaning to the concept of 'self-sufficiency' in these islands.

How so? On the one hand, Hawaii's relatively small land base is dwarfed by the size of our American-style footprint. At present, we'd need more than 5 islands of productive land for each island we've got.

On the other hand, sustainability imperatives will drive our American footprint down to the point where the island we've got should be enough.

Here's the math: Based on the latest update of the "Footprint of Nations", our per capita American footprint is 13.2 acres (net of the energy land required to sequester our carbon emissions). This should drop to 5.7 per capita as we improve our energy efficiency and alter our waste stream.

At present, Kauai has 5.0 acres per capita of 'biocapacity' (productive land). Close, yeah?

In other words, wot we've got is wot we're gonna get...as America drops toward its fair share of the planet's resources.

So, if America's heading that way, perhaps we can look at Kauai as a test case. How might we minimize our footprint so that we only needed the land equivalent of one island?

This is not to say that we will need to grow or provide all our resources. Instead, it means we will be limited to the equivalent productivity of our island lands.

Kauai has 313,000 acres of 'biocapacity' (net of a 12% biodiversity buffer).

Wonder how we could live on this?

Published by Ken on November 10th, 2007 tagged Ecological Footprint, Island Ecosystems

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