July 31, 2019
My Facebook newsfeed posted a ridiculous, breathless article saying we have run out of our yearly budgeted resources as of yesterday and are now living on borrowed stuff. According to the article:
The Overshoot Day calculation relies heavily on an array of country-level and global UN data about everything from the food produced and consumed in each country to how much waste is generated, timber is felled, and fossil fuels are burned. The calculation is limited by the quality of the global data, which in itself might have some big underestimations built in. Research has suggested that the UN Food and Agriculture Organization might be underestimating the size of the global seafood harvest by 30%. But the UN numbers are the best available, for now, so that’s what they use.
"What we do is very much accounting,” said Lin, one of four researchers who spend six months each year crunching the numbers. "Everything we consume, and all the waste we produce—we can map back over how much bioproductive area it would require.”
They calculate individual overshoot days for each country, too; the US’s overshoot day was way back on March 15. Australia’s was March 31. Qatar’s was Feb. 11.
If the world’s population consumed natural resources and produced waste at the rate that the US does, it would take five Earths to sustainably meet those needs.
I left the following comment on the message board:
Population bomb hysteria of the 1970's. None of Thomas Malthus's predictions came true, nor did the Club of Romes, nor Ehrlichs. They all said we were doomed by the turn of the century.
Even if we run out of some resources, so what? Burning wood for steam power led to deforestation which led to using coal and oil and the forests recovered. Even if we can't renew some resources, we have an entire solar system to harvest. For example, there is one middling asteroid worth Ten Quadrillion dollars were we to mine it. https://
This article ignores the fact that we "overshoot" yearly resource budget yet still have enough. Why is that? It's because this "budget" is an arbitrarily set target, set by the environmentalis
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