Utahn’s running out of resources
June 29, 2007
A preliminary study was released Wednesday, indicating Utahn’s are using more resources than the state can sustain.
The Utah Population and Environmental Coalition announced their findings Wednesday, at the top of This is the Place Heritage Park, chosen for its view of "the kind of development that has occurred in the valley in the last 160 years, what has been our past heritage and what is our future heritage and also for a bit of exercise," said Wayne Martinson, the chairman of UPEC.
UPEC, founded in Salt Lake City in 1997, has addressed environmental issues connected with population increase and resource consumption in Utah.
The nine-month study of Utah’s first "Ecological Footprint," provides a comparison of Utahns’ consumption of resources to that of people in countries throughout the world. The goal of the study, according to UPEC member and University of Utah professor Philip Emmi, was "to allow Utahns’ to make better decisions for future sustainability."
Some measures that affect scores are distances driven, fuel efficiency of a person’s car, carpooling, the number of people living in a home, the home’s size, appliances used, consumer products purchased, the foods a person eats, with, for example, meats requiring high energy for the yield they produce.
The study found that Utahns’ are consuming 11 percent more resources than the land can sustain on a "renewable basis."
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Martinson said that in 1990, in a similar study, Utah was found to have a surplus, which has gradually turned into the current deficit.
Said Sandra McIntyre, of UPEC, "The implications are clear. The state has gone into eco-deficit. We hope the community will come together and alter the balance."
According to the report, "The average Utahn requires land the size of about 20 football fields without end zones to support his or her consumption of food, housing, energy, goods and services." That is similar to other U.S. averages, and more than three times higher than world averages in the consuming of resources.
An online test is available at http://www.myfootprint.org , for people to determine where they stand in the Utah and world averages.
Martinson said population growth compounds the issues. The larger the population, the less the land can support the additional numbers. He said Utah has the highest birthrate per woman of any state in the U.S.
He sees "new pressure points starting up," as bio fuels that require corn will take land that was used to grow food, which will now be used to produce energy. Looking to the future he portended we may have to; "tear up golf courses and plant more crops."
Martinson believes that people can become more energy conscious and live within the state’s bio capacity, and that the land can become more productive with the use of solar power, wind power and bio fuels.
For more information, to contribute, or to become a member of UPEC, visit http://www.utahpop.org
What can I Do: compiled by UPEC
Buy locally grown and organically grown produce. Support local agriculture.
Reduce individual use of your car – walk, cycle, use public transportation and carpool.
Every child should be planned, wanted and loved
Promote population and environmental education in local schools. Encourage local schools to invite speakers and show films on population issues.