Resilience 2:1 is special because?

Beyond the usual focus of resilience planning – infrastructure, flood management, preparation for heat waves – we think about biocapacity. Biocapacity is the ability of a place or region to regenerate itself through renewable resources and manage wastes to maintain a healthy state.

Biocapacity is often connected to biodiversity. Since biocapacity generates renewable resources (trees and forests for example) and deals with the waste it creates it is essential for resilience.

For us to survive we need healthy and functioning ecosystems that are diverse and can generate renewable resources while managing wastes. Seen that way humans themselves are still struggling with their own biocapacity. We tend to focus on nonrenewable resources or over use them to the point of collapse and certainly have not figured out how to manage all the waste we produce. We depend upon the biocapacity of the rest of the planet to generate our resources and manage our wastes.

2:1 refers to the ratio of biocapacity to eco-carbon-footprint that is current in Canada. As measured by the Global Footprint Network, Canada has a ratio of 2:1 more or less for a per person comparison of biocapacity to ecofootprint. This measures the biocapacity of Canada against our own ecofootprint of consumption and waste. 2:1 sounds pretty good. We should celebrate. Many other countries are in far worse shape. Isn’t that right? No, no cause for celebration here.

A couple of trends are apparent in the data. First as our population increases so too does our carbon output (the waste) per person. Our overall ecofootprint as a country is nearly 5 earths. That means Canadians are living large, larger than we can afford to live. At the same time, bio capacity overall has decreased. We are using our resources at an ever-increasing rate. The end result of loss of biocapacity, overuse of resources, and failure to deal with our waste (especially CO2) will be a dramatic loss of resilience. 2:1 is a good thing, a nice thing to be right now. 3:1 would be better. 4:1 even better.
Why is this an issue for Canada right now?

Canada is changing climate?