“Humanity’s annual demand on the natural world has exceeded what the Earth can renew in a year since the 1970s. This “ecological overshoot” has continued to grow over the years, reaching a 50 per cent deficit in 2008. This means that it takes 1.5 years for the Earth to regenerate the renewable resources that people use, and absorb the CO2 waste they produce, in that same year. How can this be possible when there is only one Earth? Just as it is possible to withdraw money from a bank account faster than to wait for the interest this money generates, renewable resources can be harvested faster than they can be re-grown. But just like overdrawing from a bank account, eventually the resource will be depleted. At present, people are often able to shift their sourcing when this happens; however at current consumption rates, these sources will eventually run out of resources too – and some ecosystems will collapse even before the resource is completely gone. The consequences of excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are also already being seen, like climate change and ocean acidification. These place additional stresses on biodiversity and ecosystems. The decline in biocapacity per capita is primarily due to an increase in global population. More people have to share the Earth’s resources. The increase in the Earth’s productivity is not enough to compensate for the demands of this growing population.” –World Wildlife Foundation, 2014
“Ah yes, the big ungainly elephant in the room. Overshoot. Rarely discussed in polite society. And the rate of ecological overshoot is INCREASING EVERY YEAR. When you view the high-tech “solutions” like carbon capture and storage and “divesting from fossil fuels, and “green economy” fantasies for “fighting climate change” presented to us in this context, you realize that it’s all just a bunch of hot air. Pun intended. None of these things address fundamental problems with industrial civilization. Things like infinite growth, hyperconsumption, environmental destruction, and overpopulation. They’re part of a civilization level “extend and pretend” fantasy. The reality is, there are only a finite amount of essential resources on earth. In a little over 50 years, we’ve managed to go from consuming less than 100 percent of the world resources yearly, to consuming 160% of the worlds yearly resources in 8 months. Our rapacious greed and largely disposable civilization, has created untold toxic waste and consumed incalculable resources that cannot be replaced or recycled. The sociopathic system we live in, globalized industrial civilization, requires that the status quo be maintained. Profit is paramount. More and more profit is required for optimal functioning. Though now, We’ve begun to see signs of systems failure all around the world. And the system is killing the world. This overdrawing of Earth’s resources can only continue for so much longer before the resources required for this madness are expended completely. Then what?” -OSJ
Written By Nadia Prupis @ Common Dreams:
Earth Overshoot Day—the day on which people worldwide have officially used up more natural resources like air, food, and water than the planet can regenerate in a year—has come early.
The 2016 threshold was hit on Monday, making it the fastest pace yet, according to a new report by the Global Footprint Network, which measures the dubious milestone every year.
That’s five days earlier than last year, about five weeks earlier than in 2003, and months earlier than it was in 1987, when it fell on December 19. In 1961, the global population didn’t even use up 100 percent of the world’s natural resources, according to the network. But the next decade propelled the planet into an era of overconsumption, the group said.
“This is possible because we emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than our oceans and forests can absorb, and we deplete fisheries and harvest forests more quickly than they can reproduce and regrow,” Global Footprint Network said in a statement.
To figure out the annual date, the group analyzes United Nations statistics on thousands of economic areas like fisheries, forests, and energy production, among others. The group’s co-founder Mathis Wackernagel told Deutsche Welle on Monday that there is a clear climate villain in the midst—fossil fuels.
“Currently the carbon footprint makes up more than 60 percent of humanity’s ecological footprint. Our economy is built very heavily on fossil fuels, and that’s the challenge we face. We have agreed that moving over 2 degrees Celsius is an unacceptable target for humanity. That translates into very clear physical constraints,” he said.
“That means we cannot have more than 20 years at current emissions levels. That means, in a very short time frame, we will have to move out of fossil fuel use,” he explained.