Ecological debt is the debt accumulated by northern, industrial countries on account of resource plundering, unequal trade, environmental damage, and free occupation of environmental space to deposit waste. This appropriation of natural resources violates human rights and obstructs the development of the peoples in southern countries.
Ecological debt provides a different look not only at the legacy of the colonial period but also at the "era of development" after World War II. A lot of this development has been debt driven, not only in fiancial terms (South-North) but in ecological terms as well. Ecological debt points at the collective responsibility of industrialized countries for past violations of the right to a clean and safe environment in other countries. It also is another way of revealing the impossibility and undesirability of copying development paths of industrialized countries.