Earth Overshoot Day
Yesterday, August 20, 2013, was Earth Overshoot Day: ” the approximate date our consumption for a given year exceeds the Earth’s ability to replenish.” This is a sad day for for the planet, and it is entirely the fault of human beings.
Each year, Earth Overshoot Day comes earlier. In 1993 it was two months later than it was this year. It is abundantly clear we are heading in the wrong direction.
We, as a species, probably have the resources to reverse this paradigm – even with an expanding population. A paper by Paul & Anne Elrich (published by The Simplicity Institute) on whether or not a collapse of (this) civilisation could be prevented concluded that it was certainly possible. This conclusion, however, was followed by the prediction that even though we can, we probably won’t because we don’t understand just how much trouble we’re in and are not likely to put the investment in now for future generations.
The same basic conclusion was summarised nicely in a post on Heenan Doherty’s Facebook page:
“You know Dazza, humans are just like yeast, they eat all of the sugar and then die in their own shit”, Frank B. Dole Snr. circa 1975, Junortoun verandah.
As much as this rings true to us when we look around at the vast majority of people and their mindless consumption, the last words of the Elrich paper are pretty much where we’re at with the whole thing:
“[O]ur own ethical values compel us to think the benefits to those future generations are worth struggling for, to increase at least slightly the chances of avoiding a dissolution of today’s global civilization as we know it.”
So, we will continue to try to produce more than we consume and leave our little patch of Earth better than it was when we arrived. Aside from anything else, it makes for a happier existence. Time to get back into the garden.