In the Red

August 20, 2013

files.phpI hadn’t been aware of this particular day — today: Earth Overshoot Day 2013.
Either I wasn’t paying attention, or missed it, or something.

An odd celebratory event without much celebrating — well, actually none at all.
Another prick-brick in the wall.

(Illustration found here).

According to Global Footprint Network: Earth Overshoot Day is the approximate date our resource consumption for a given year exceeds the planet’s ability to replenish.
Starting tomorrow,  we’re in the ecological red and running a natural-resource deficit. And 133 days too early,which is part of a trend.

From today’s Guardian: Since the 1970s we’ve been living beyond our means, going into ecological deficit before the end of each year. And, the day when we hit “overshoot” has been creeping ever earlier. This year it falls two days earlier than in 2012. It now takes about 18 months for the biosphere to compensate for a year’s worth of human consumption and waste.
In 1993 ‘overshoot’ day was Oct. 21, and just a decade later in 2003, the same point occurred a month earlier, Sept. 22, and right now, another 10 years later, and another month earlier.
Carter Roberts, president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund in the United States, explains the day’s significance in a post at Foreign Affairs.
The real-money bit:

Both biocapacity and ecological footprint are measured in global hectares, a common unit that encompasses the average productivity of all the biologically productive land and sea area in the world in a given year.
Measurements are drawn from Global Footprint Network’s National Footprint Accounts, datasets for more than 230 countries, territories, and regions that contain more than 6,000 annually gathered data points per country.
Although not yet perfect, these accounts provide the most comprehensive available aggregate indicator of human pressure on ecosystems.
Earth Overshoot Day is an approximation, but it is yet one more sign that humanity is consuming the planet’s finite resources at an unsustainable rate.
In 2013, humanity requires the equivalent of approximately 1.5 earths to produce the goods and services our lifestyles demand in one year and to absorb the attendant CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases.
If the United Nations’ moderate projections for growth in population and consumption are correct, we will need two earths before 2050.
And that is not even counting on overshooting being aggravated as increased pressure on ecosystems makes less productive land and water available; some ecosystems will collapse even before a particular resource is completely gone.

And salt on the paper cut: New data released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals so far for 2013, the year is the sixth warmest on record globally, and last month, July, was also the sixth warmest such month since global surface temperature records first began in 1880. July was also 341st straight month with warmer-than-average global temperatures (via Climate Central).

In the red more ways than a bunch.

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