In the light of the recent post which included an analysis of the impacts of globalisation, this Guardian article of 12 August seemed particularly relevant. Below is a short extract: for the full post see link.
Earth ‘overshoot day’ – the day each year when our demands on the planet outstrip its ability to regenerate – comes six days earlier than 2014, with world’s population currently consuming the equivalent of 1.6 planets a year.
Humans have exhausted a year’s supply of natural resources in less than eight months, according to an analysis of the demands the world’s population are placing on the planet.
The Earth’s “overshoot day” for 2015, the point at which humanity goes into ecological debt, will occur on Thursday six days earlier than last year, based on an estimate by the Global Footprint Network (GFN).
The date is based on a comparison of humanity’s demands – in terms of carbon emissions, cropland, fish stocks, and the use of forests for timber – with the planet’s ability to regenerate such resources and naturally absorb the carbon emitted. That implies the excess demands being placed on natural systems are doing more permanent harm that cannot be easily undone.
The GFN estimates that human consumption first began to exceed the Earth’s capacity in the early 1970s and the overshoot day has been falling steadily earlier ever since, due to the growth in the global population alongside the expansion of consumption around the world.
Mathis Wackernagel, president of the GFN told the Guardian: “The big problem is not that our deficit is getting bigger, it is that it cannot be maintained in the long-run. Even though we are in a deficit equation we are not taking measures to take us in the right direction. The problem is psychological – somehow we are missing this basic physical law. It is obvious to children, but for 98% of economic planners it is a minor risk not worth our attention. In the end the question is – does it matter to the government?”