Earth overshoot day

SLAM: debunk creationism, pseudoscience, and superstitions. Discuss logic and morality.

Moderator: Alyrium Denryle

Post Reply
User avatar
mr friendly guy
The Doctor
Posts: 11088
Joined: 2004-12-12 10:55pm
Location: In a 1960s police telephone box somewhere in Australia

Earth overshoot day

Post by mr friendly guy » 2017-08-03 08:55am ... ed/8770040
Earth Overshoot Day: We used a year's worth of resources in seven months
Updated about 6 hours ago

Earth and Moon
PHOTO: At current rates, we use the resources of 1.7 Earths each year, according to the Global Footprint Network. (Supplied: NOAA-NASA-GOES Project/ Michael Benson, Kinetikon Pictures)
MAP: Australia
There is a date every year when the world's resource bank goes into overdraft.

This year, Earth Overshoot Day is marked globally on August 2. For the rest of year we're in the burning red.

It's the point when the amount of natural resources — think trees, fish and water — humanity takes from the Earth reaches the total that can be regenerated over the entire year.

It's when the amount of carbon emitted reaches the amount the forests and oceans are able to absorb.

This year it happened in seven months, according to the Global Footprint Network.

If every country in the world lived like Australia, Earth Overshoot Day would have been on March 12.

INFOGRAPHIC: If everyone lived like Australians, we would need 5.2 Earths for every year of life. (Supplied: Global Footprint Network)
If you reckon that's not your debt, you can calculate how you are personally tracking via the Footprint calculator and then compare it to the national date.

We were at a break-even point in 1971 and even had a surplus before that (the UN started collecting this data in 1961).

Since then, the date has been creeping further from December — we're demanding more from the Earth while reducing its capacity to regenerate.

The Global Footprint Network calculates each year's overshoot day.

The equation has four main factors:

How much we consume
How efficiently products are made
How many of us there are
How much nature's ecosystems are able to produce.
According to their calculations, we're using the resources of 1.7 planets every year.

To rein in our ecological spending, we'd need to push Earth Overshoot Day back 4.5 days each year to be living within our single-planet means by 2050.

In a story for The Conversation, tutor in Sustainability Science at the University of Newcastle Bonnie McBain said it's a confusing concept, since we continue to live, while using more and more resources.

She used this analogy:

"Imagine a bathtub full of water, with the tap running and the plug out at the same time.

"It is possible for more water to flow out of the bath than into it for some time without the water in the tub running out.

"This is because the significant store of water in the bath acts like a buffer.

"The same goes for nature."
Dr McBain told the ABC there were many interweaving factors at play.

In her research, which compared future ecological footprints with research about planetary boundaries, they found that our global cropping footprint is likely to exceed the planetary boundary for land clearing between 2025 and 2035.

Yep. It could be less than 10 years away.

"If you have what we've got slow incremental changes in things so the planetary boundary, that's informed by that group of research, they were saying we can't have more than a 15 per cent increase in cropping areas … of the global ice-free land surface," Dr McBain said.

"Generally, we don't want more than 50 percent of land turned into crop land.

"The trend is going that way so that's the concern.

"We haven't reached it yet but it's likely that it won't be long before that is reached.

"This is our opportunity to heed that warning and introduce policy … and that's the point of the research."
I suggest people click on the link to look at the graphs. We hear about how China has a voracious appetite for resources and we will need several earths if China reached Western standards of living. However at present if everyone lived like China, we need 2.1 earths. Contrast to Spain 2.4 eraths, Italy 2.6, Japan 2.9, UK 3.0, and all the way to the US 5.0 Earths and Australia 5.2 earths. Yikes.
Never apologise for being a geek, because they won't apologise to you for being an arsehole. John Barrowman - 22 June 2014 Perth Supernova.

Countries I have been to - 14.
Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, USA.
Always on the lookout for more nice places to visit.

Post Reply