Monday, 28 September 2009

Wile E. Coyote runs over the cliff edge, not immediately realising that gravity is going to do him in soon

September 25 was “Earth Overshoot” Day.

Earth Overshoot Day is a dangerous annual milestone: the metaphorical time in the year when humanity begins living beyond its ecological means. Beyond that day, we move into the ecological equivalent of deficit spending, utilising resources at a rate faster than the planet can regenerate in a calendar year. In other words, the planet can sustainably supply us with a certain amount in a year but unfortunately humanity as a whole is now using that amount up in under 10 months. The United Kingdom’s National Overshoot Day is about 22nd April. Jersey’s extreme consumer lifestyle obviously makes our own Island Overshoot Day a fair bit earlier than this. For shame.

Globally, we now require the equivalent of 1.4 planets to support our lifestyles. Put another way, in less than 10 months humanity has already used up the ecological services that it has taken 12 months for the Earth to regenerate.

Global Recession Barely Slows Ecological Demand

Because of the current global economic slowdown, we reached Earth Overshoot Day one day later than last year, according to Global Footprint Network projections. By comparison, in the past, Earth Overshoot Day has steadily moved four to six days closer to January 1st each year. “The fact is that in spite of a very painful world economic situation, we are still way over-budget in our use of nature,” said a spokeman for


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