Bad news, Earthlings: It may be possible for everyone on the planet to live a "good" life. It may also be possible for humans to live within their environmental means.
But if present trends continue, there will be no way for both of these things to happen at the same time.
That's the bleak -- if not entirely surprising -- assessment of researchers from the Sustainability Research Institute at University of Leeds in England and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin.
They came to this conclusion after considering 11 necessary ingredients of a well-lived existence. Some of the items on their list are basic human needs -- income of at least $1.90 per day, electricity, enough food to eat and a life expectancy of at least 65 years. Others were social goals, such as equality, dependable friends and family, and a decent degree of life satisfaction (at least 6.5 on a scale of 1 to 10).
The researchers also considered the cost to the planet of achieving these things. They broke it down into seven categories such as carbon dioxide emissions and use of natural resources like nitrogen, phosphorus and clean water.
What they found is that humanity has a lot of work to do.
Right now, there's not a single country on Earth that provides its people a good, sustainable life.
In fact, there aren't even any that come close.
The researchers, led by economist Daniel O'Neill of the University of Leeds, believe this is possible. But it will take some hard work.
Let's start with the good life.