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Humanity Officially Outgrows the Planet

Humanity uses more resources than the world can renew, meaning that our current way of life is not sustainable, and that at this rate the world will one day just run out of resources.

Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think tank, has worked out that in 2013 we have officially passed the point where our consumption exceeds the planets ability to produce. The 20th of August has been designated ‘Earth Overshoot Day’, signifying, as businessGreen put it, that on Tuesday “the planet's ecological budget moves into the red.”

Related article: Rising Seas could Cause $1 Trillion Damage a Year to Coastal Cities by 2050

The human race is currently using such a large amount of resources that Global Footprint Network have estimated that it would take just over 1.5 Earths to actually renew the consumed resources, and they expect this to increase to two full Earths before 2020.

one and a half worlds
(Charles Chi)

Their research showed that if everyone in the world were to consume as much as the average citizen of the United States, we would need four Earths to replenish resources. That jumps to six and a half Earths if we all consumed at the same rate as the people of Qatar.

Related article: Water Shortages Pose Greatest Threat to US Economic Growth

In fact more than 80% of the world’s population live in countries whose consumption exceeds their own ecosystems ability to provide. The Swiss use the same amount of resources as produced by four Switzerlands, and it would take four Italys to keep the Italians happy.

Global Footprint Network stated that “as our level of consumption, or ‘spending', grows, the interest we are paying on this mounting ecological debt - shrinking forests, biodiversity loss, fisheries collapse, food shortages, degraded land productivity and the build-up of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and oceans - not only burdens the environment but also undermines our economies.

Climate change - a result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans - is the most widespread impact of ecological overspending.”

By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

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  • thomas manthe on August 24 2013 said:
    While it is true that our current 'culture' cannot sustain itself much longer, a growing population is not the problem per say. I submit that the world has a 'landlord' problem instead and it is the landlords who control not only the land and its resources (water too) but also control what is consumed......by all of us.

    Henry George provided the answers to these issues over 100 years ago in his landmark book Progress and Poverty. It should be required reading everywhere, especially in so-called schools of economics.

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