Hello Byron – Welcome to the 1% – Ecological Footprint and Bio-capacity

March 25th, 2024

Ecological Footprint and Bio-capacity

You know how good you have it if you live in the Byron Shire.  Sometimes, I feel guilty just getting up in the morning. We imagine that the ‘global 1%’ are people who live in New York or London and fly their private jets. It turns out the global 1% is a lot closer to home and no one is considering their ecological footprint or bio-capacity.

According to Credit Suisse, to join the global 1%, you need a net worth of USD 871,320, or around $1.32 mil AUD.  Anyone who owns an average property in Byron or the Northern Rivers with less than half mortgaged is unknowingly hypocritical when complaining about inequality.

The next level up is the members of the UWHNI (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals). They need a net worth of $30 million ($AUD46 million). Last year, the number of UHNWIs rose by an extra 3% to 15,347. Some are part of the immigration surge and see Australia as a safe location. Australia is the fourth most favourable place to buy a new home, behind the UK, the US, and France. It is now seventh in the number of people in the 1% club, but third before the recent currency devaluation.

Recycle with Awareness

Also, we should not be so smug or congratulatory when we recycle our rubbish. The average Australian creates a carbon footprint that is the fourth highest in the world. We are behind Luxembourg, Aruba, and Qatar. (FYI, Aruba is an island in the Caribbean and a former Dutch colony). We are even higher (worse) than the USA and Canada.

Global Hectares (gha) are the accounting units used to measure Ecological Footprint and Bio-capacity.  The average Aussie clocks up 9.31 gha, while the world average is 2.75 gha.  Eritrea and Timor Leste are at the bottom of the list, with a meagre 0.49 gha. If each person had been allocated their fair share, we would have been allotted 1.72 global hectares per person.  We would have to survive on less than a fifth of what we consume now.

Be Grateful

It is unreasonable to expect everyone to cast off their privileges overnight. But it is not ideal to keep our heads in the sand, especially if the sand you are in is at Wategos or Belongil Beach — two of Australia’s most exclusive and expensive enclaves and, therefore, the world.

Maybe spreading the love is the least we can do. 2024 is the 30th anniversary of the start of the NRCF. The Northern Rivers Community Foundation is a local charity that looks after some of the less fortunate among us.

One Reply to “Hello Byron – Welcome to the 1% – Ecological Footprint and Bio-capacity”

  1. Brilliant newsletter Michael!
    Always an enjoyable and informative read. Congrats and please keep them coming.

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