The MVP Sustainability Map was created to help people better understand the relationship between a country’s population, its consumption of valuable natural resources and the amount of damage and waste it inflicts upon itself and the rest of the world. The Map’s name, MVP, reflects two ways humans interact with the Earth: “Man vs Planet” and “Most Valuable Planet.” Measuring resource consumption and economic activity (a country’s footprint) allows one to objectively determine whether a country is living within its means with the number of citizens it has, or whether that country is exceeding its carrying capacity i.e. it has too many people consuming too many resources and generating too much waste.
Countries whose populations and consumption greatly exceed sustainable levels cause greater and faster environmental degradation within their own borders by directly depleting local limited natural resources, as well as abroad, by importing and exploiting other nations’ natural resources. Human health and quality of life may also suffer directly from less access to these limited resources and more exposure to worsening pollution. Additionally, these countries may face rising national security risks by having to rely on increasing foreign imports for critically important natural resources to maintain their economy and standard of living of its citizens. If left unaddressed the negative consequences to human health and biodiversity will continue to grow worse. The mapping data for each country is collected from authoritative sources.
Earth Overshoot uses the data provided by The Global Footprint Network (GFN) that measures in hectares how much area of biologically productive land and water an individual or population requires to produce all the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates. To calculate a country’s maximum sustainable population level Earth Overshoot divides the available area per person by the area they use and multiplies the population level to determine the sustainable population level. The sustainable population number displayed is intended to be a reference point within a general sustainable population range, at the current level of economic activity for that country and its citizens. GFN collects its data from the United Nations or UN affiliated data sets, including those published by the Food and Agriculture Organization, United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database, and the UN Statistics Division, as well as the International Energy Agency. Due to the enormous amount of information collected and analyzed from various sources, there is a time lag and the “current” data available from GFN typically ranges from three to five years from the present.
A positive rate above 0% indicates a country’s populace is growing, meaning a country’s births and immigration are greater than its number of deaths and emigration. A country whose maximum sustainable population exceeds its current population should be working toward a negative population growth rate (less than 0%). The population growth rate figure is pulled from World Bank data that is derived from (1) United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects: 2019 Revision, (2) Census reports and other statistical publications from national statistical offices, (3) Eurostat: Demographic Statistics, (4) United Nations Statistical Division. Population and Vital Statistics Report (various years), (5) U.S. Census Bureau: International Database, and (6) Secretariat of the Pacific Community: Statistics and Demography Programme. World Bank Development Indicators SP.POP.GROW accessed 7 Sept 2021. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.POP.GROW
Modern Contraception adoption is one of the best indicators of countries with high human development indicators and a major contributing factor to better human and environmental health. The contraception data cited is derived from World Bank data: World Bank Development Indicators SP.DYN.CONM.ZS accessed 7 Sept 2021. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.CONM.ZS
Species threatened indicates the number of species endangered, critically endangered or threatened and is republished from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global authority on the status of the natural world. Every increase in human activity and human numbers has an opposite and often greater impact on wild plants and animals, increasing their vulnerability and rates of extinction. The number of species threatened is a good barometer of human impact and the overall health of a nation's environment. IUCN (2021). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2021-2 accessed 5 Sept 2021. https://www.iucnredlist.org/
GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is a global measure used by economists for gauging the prosperity of nations. It measures an economy’s size and growth rate and correlates with income and way of living for its citizens. Per Capita GDP converts a country’s total annual GDP to an average per individual citizen, and can provide a helpful measurement in determining the prosperity and living conditions of an average citizen in that particular nation. A high GDP per capita indicates a higher level of consumption. A low GDP per capita indicates low consumption, and in some cases having little more than enough food or money to stay alive. All figures are in $U.S. dollars. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD
Sustainability Grading is a scorecard ranging from an “A” for excellent to an “F” for unsatisfactory. The grading is determined by Earth Overshoot. We review the data from the aforementioned categories, incorporating fertility, migration, economic, political and social trends to ascertain positive or negative trajectories. We scrutinize the value and protection a country places on the natural world, natural resources and its people. We also take into account how it exploits its natural resources, or relies on the exploitation of other country’s human and natural resources to secure its nation’s health and well-being. We evaluate which countries value and prioritize sustainability through objective measurement of their population levels, consumption of resources and production of wastes. And we research each country’s efforts toward improving human health, the rights of women and access to modern contraception, which are not only moral imperatives, but directly correlate to better human well being, smaller families, and ultimately less demand on and damage to the natural world.
Country comments highlight additional details about a country’s environmental challenges,standard of living, human development indicators, and population trends affected by fertility and migration. The comments share insight on whether a country has or is working toward certain fundamental practices and policies that improve human health and protect the natural environment, and place the country on a secure and stable path toward long-term sustainability.