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Earliest "Earth Overshoot Day" Ever Expected for 2018 as Consumption of Natural Resources Accelerates


Earliest "Earth Overshoot Day" Ever Expected for 2018 as Consumption of Natural Resources Accelerates

Julia Conley, staff writer

With rising carbon emissions, deforestation, and unsustainable food systems, humans have used up the planet's resources in record time this year, moving up Earth Overshoot Day by two days to August 1—the earliest sustainability researchers have ever recorded the symbolic date.


Rationing of fossil fuels is coming.


One of the things that bothers me most about this is when I go out to eat. Everything has to be “Super-sized” or “All you can eat,” yet here in America, we are a nation of porkers who have no restraint. There is enough in this world for everyone, yet our Capitalist based economy constantly promotes selfishness and greed as a good, rather than a detriment to the common good of the whole world.

We are a community of people on this earth that God has given us to care for, yet for the greedy Capitalists who run the show in this country, enough is never enough! They have to have more and more and more, and the only way to get it is to convince us to live way beyond our needs and our means. Drowning in debt for crap we do not need, consuming way more than we need, living lives so big that they could support ten families for a lifetime…that’s all the Capitalist mantra…and it is ruining the earth.

The worst part about this are the Right Wing radio-jock blowhards who treat the earth as if it will never run out of natural resources to provide us with our lives. They laugh when it is suggested that we should take care of that which has been entrusted to us and call us “Commies” and such when we suggest it, even though it is my Christian faith which teaches me that I am to be a good steward of all that has been gifted to me.

I’ll tell you what really discourages me. I will not use those hideous plastic bags that are everywhere. It’s a small thing, but something I can do. But then I stand in line and watch unthinking people drop a single item they could easily carry into a bag and walk out of the store. Discouraging.

I’m 70 years old and probably won’t live to see the environmental cookies hit the fan, but I know something is coming. We just can’t keep doing this forever. The thing that annoys me is that the hyper-rich will probably find some way to get out of suffering any consequence for the destruction they have caused with their rapacious desire for every dollar on the planet.


I see no mention, among the suggestions that individuals should choose biking over cars and veganism over eating meat, that governments should choose peace over preparing for war, waging war, and cleaning up after war.

“Biggest bang for the buck” is an oddly apt phrase, coming as it does from military planners, to describe such prioritizing.


At least America is leading the way in solving the problem of overpopulation by dropping a bomb every 12 minutes.


Just keep having more children. Then attend a seminar on positive thinking. Then vote in more resources.

Then, thoughts and prayers.

Works every time.


Again, human population is but one factor in aggregate consumption of resources and the aggregate generation of pollutants. If you are not willing to deal with other factors, how inequitable that is, the limits to growth in throughput and pollution generation, or the non-market impacts of these things, then you aren’t really taking part in the conversation. You continuously refuse to take into any other factor, defend this system and argue against us addressing inequality. A far right wing way of looking at this. Just on carbon emissions alone it is absurd. From pages 268 and 269 of Andreas Malm’s book Fossil Capital.

"Reflecting intra-species concentration on another level, as of 2000, the advanced capitalist countries or the ‘North’ composed to 16.6 percent of the world’s population, but were responsible for 77.1 percent of the CO2 emitted since 1850, sub-national inequalities unaccounted. The US alone accounted for 27.7 percent, while Nigeria stood at 0.2 percent, Turkey at 0.5 percent, Indonesia at 0.6 percent, Brazil at 0.9 percent - these being countries with a historical responsibility sufficiently large to make it on the top twenty list. Most left even smaller marks. Counting differently, the OECD countries were behind 86 of the 107 parts per million by which the CO2 concentration rose from 1850 to 2006. What about the homeland of it all? In one list of national contributions to global warming from fossil fuel combustion up to the year 2005, the United Kingdom ranks number five, having caused a rise in temperature three times larger than India, fifteen times Thailand and Argentina, thirty times larger than Nigeria and Colombia, and so on. In the early twenty-first century, the poorest 45 percent of humanity generated 7 percent of current CO2 emission, while the richest 7 percent produced 50 percent; a single average US citizen - national class divisions again disregarded - emitted as much as upwards of 500 citizens of Ethiopia, Chad, Afghanistan, Mali, Cambodia, Burundi. There were few signs of fossil fuel combustion being equalized within the human species. Rather, the data suggest a widening of polarization. Are these basic facts reconcilable with the view that humankind as the new geological agent?

The best shot for the Anthropocene narrative in this regard remains population growth: if it can be shown that fossil fuel combustion is fanned by the multiplication of human numbers, the species may be held causally responsible. Thus, the leading Anthropocene theorists like to foreground excessive reproduction as the major perturbation of the biosphere. Undeniably, human numbers and CO2 quantities are somehow connected - 20 people have a smaller capacity to burn coal than 20 million - global emissions increased by a factor of 654.8 between 1820 and 2010, while population ‘only’ did so by a factor of 6.6, suggesting the presence of another propulsive force. In recent decades, on disaggregated levels, the correlation has been revealed as outright negative. Development scholar David Satterthwaite compared the growth of population and emissions between 1980 and 2005: the former tended to be faster where the latter was the slowest, and vice versa. China’s annual population growth stood at 1.1 percent as against 5.6 percent for emissions ; South Korea’s at 0.9 percent and 5.3 respectively; at the opposite and of the spectrum, inverting the relation, Djibouti’s scored 3.5 percent and 0.8 percent, while Chad’s figures were 3.2 percent and -1.6 percent, rapid population growth, falling emissions. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for less than 3 percent of growth in global emissions, but for 18.5 percent of population. Northern America reversed the profile: 14 percent for emissions, 4 percent of population. In short, the rise of population and the rise of emissions were disconnected from each other, the one mostly happening in places where the other did not - and if a correlation is negative, causation is out of the question. More than a third of humanity is not even party to the proto-fossil economy; as of 2012, 2.6 billion people still relied on biomass for cooking. Taking into account the capacity of undernourished humans subsisting on one meal per day to afford to emit any greenhouse gases is small, that low-income households primarily use carbon-neutral transport methods - walking, bicycling, at most riding crowded buses and trains - and that people who scavenge dump sites for waste to recycle and grow forests on their land have negative emissions, Satterthwaite concluded that one-sixth of world population 'best no be included in allocaiton of responsibility to GHG emissions.

…In the words of Vaclav Smil, ultra-prolific authority on energy systems, ‘the difference in modern energy consumption between a subsistence pastoralist in the Sahel and an average Canadian, may be easily larger than 1,000-fold’ - and that is the average Canadian, not the owner of five houses, three SUVs and a private airplane.


Bless you, but I think maybe discover has beans in its ears.


If you have some money, buy Fossil Capital. It is amazing.


Thanks, I’ll check it out.


Rationing of resources and planning on a large scale is coming. Most impacts are not part of the market economy, and the capitalist system is a system designed to grow indefinitely. On a planet with a finite amount of natural resources, the growth in throughput and pollution generation is not possible in the long-term. We also have a hugely inequitable, corrupt and undemocratic society, political system and economy. Thinking that a decentralized system that uses markets to the extent that it does, a system that is designed to continuously grow, that it can deal with the environmental crisis is absurd. The system that follows might not be socialist, it might not be democratic or equitable, but it won’t be capitalism. The part of the left that doesn’t recognize what we are confronted with, and doesn’t realize the radical changes needed, needs to be confronted just as much as the right.


We are not going to stop global warming with individuals acting individually. It will only happen with governments acting in concert using laws and other incentives to cause a coordinated response. What comes to mind is laws requiring all of us to wear seatbelts in private automobiles, or motorcycle helmet laws.


We’re not going to stop global warming. Period. That ship sailed, yo.


If Pentagon spending continues to consume 52 per cent of the discretionary budget (not Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) you can kiss the planet goodbye.


Back in the 1970s the Club of Rome predicted how the using up of resources would result in a collapse sometime this century. Right now it looks like using up the carbon budget in the atmosphere is the most likely event to cause a collapse. It is almost seem inevitable. There does not seem to be any clear pathway by which this will be prevented. And that isn’t taking into consideration the trend toward fascism where the truth of what is occurring is not acknowledged. And it really doesn’t take into account the spread of Facebook to over two billion people and the accompanying spread of lies and hate. Since the US public elected Trump, even though by a close margin and in very controversial circumstances, it is a clear indication that tens of millions of Americans could care less about the using up of resources. It is not part of their mental world. All we have is some vague hope that somehow this situation does not have a bad ending.


We can, and should, at least work together to survive the coming storm.


Suit yourself. I’ll be rooting for my species’ extinction.

Anthropocene Die Off v2.0 is something to avoid, not facilitate.


Anthropocene die off its already likely set in stone. And perhaps we deserve to go extinct because of it. However I am not that fatalistic yet, give me a decade or two.


Deserving? Well, that’s debatable. Haplessly heedless is more like it.

Likely to do it again? That’s the certainty I’d rather avoid even a few hundred million years out.


Well, Joan, that’s if there is a system. Which is not certain, obviously. What is certain, though, is systemic collapse at some time in the future, given that there is still no significant effort to counter the full effects of the catastrophe in progress.