Earth's credit card has been maxed out!

If Earth's resources were a credit card, we have already maxed out our entire allocation for this year. The think tank Global Footprint Network announced that August 19th was “Earth Overshoot Day,” meaning that all the resources we use after that day exceed what our planet can produce in a single year.

The international sustainability organization says that “approximately every eight months, we demand more renewable resources and CO2 sequestration than what the planet can provide for an entire year.” They explain that ever since the 1970s, human consumption has resulted in shrinking forests, collapsing fisheries, rising commodity prices, and worsening climate change.

Overuse of resources is obviously an ecological problem, but it's also an economic one. The president of the Global Footprint Network said, “Countries with resource deficits and low income are exceptionally vulnerable.” He added that high-income nations “need to realize that a long-term solution requires addressing such dependencies before they turn into a significant economic stress.” In other words, even rich nations like ours won't be able to afford this unsustainable cycle forever.

Living sustainably is important in the fight against global warming, but it's also one of the best ways to ensure that all people have access to important resources. We can't survive if we destroy our planet or deplete our resources, or if we can't afford access to food and water. We must make the switch to green energy, use our vital resources wisely, and protect the one and only planet that we call home.


mathboy's picture
mathboy 9 years 43 weeks ago

Last line of the first paragraph: "planet", not "plant".

geochand's picture
geochand 9 years 43 weeks ago

If your really 'that concerned' about this......go to the countries that do NOTHING to (re)cover their carbon footprint. It's easy to say that we aren't doing enough. Have the stone to confront those who are doing nothing about the issue.

SueN's picture
SueN 9 years 43 weeks ago

Thanks, mathboy

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 43 weeks ago

Some garbage can be used to generate compost for the garden.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 9 years 43 weeks ago

Will there be space for gardens? Multi-family, zero-lot line housing is the trend. It would take serious cooperation to maintain a community compost pile which might then be useful. You never know who is going to put what in the compost, or what they are flushing down the toilet to our wastewater treatment facilities.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 9 years 43 weeks ago

I think married couples should be considerate about the number of babies they contribute to the population explosion. Because ultimately we will have to think in terms of rations and what's fair. I can hardly wait for that!

We can all, in fact, help to limit the sustainability overload by reducing the amount of personal garbage we generate, daily, and over the years. Look at your weekly trash container and multiply it by the approximate world population now. Multiply your and the present population's personal trash x 52 weeks x 50 years.

Find out what the world population is projected to be in 50 years. What will they do with the garbage?

This must be the answer! We must learn to convert garbage to energy or earth will die of pollution.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 43 weeks ago

SueN -- In the first paragraph, it should be think tank not "think thank"

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 43 weeks ago

leighmf -- My prediction of the world poplulation in 50 years is less than a billion (yes, it is a very pessimistic estimate). Do you realize that the exponential growth we have witnessed has now turned into linear growth.

California would have a negative growth rate if it were not for immigrants.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 43 weeks ago

Living sustainably isn't magic or rocket science. It also isn't unbearable. It takes simple planning, commitment and ingenuity; but, in the end, it really is the easiest way to live and literally pays for itself.

Quote Palindromedary:Some garbage can be used to generate compost for the garden.

Palindromedary ~ Very well said! In fact, composting is not only the way to make your own--super rich--soil, it is also a way to make your own energy. In the future, I foresee people growing their own crops in home gardens, and extracting their own energy in their compost heaps. Yes, in addition to solar energy, simple compost can also generate energy.

Quote leighmf:I think married couples should be considerate about the number of babies they contribute to the population explosion.

leighmf ~ Very well said! In fact, that is the essential ingredient to the survival of mankind isn't it? God said, "Be fruitful and multiply. Have dominion over the Earth, subdue it and replenish it."

The Holy Bible
Quote The Book Of Genesis, Chapter 1:Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

The key word here is "replenish." We've done quite well at subduing and multiplying haven't we? However, we have done little to replenish. The time has come to obey all the commandments. For without total obedience, there is nothing more than disobedience. (BTW, nice avatar!)

dianhow 9 years 43 weeks ago

Folks who have 19 kids and counting are selfish The Planets resources are finite . Lets all do our part by recycling, composting, planting trees, reusing , donating to Goodwill and others.

Gary Reber's picture
Gary Reber 9 years 43 weeks ago

The solution, lacking as it is, is leadership to put us on a path resource sustainability and renewability while empowering the tools of technological innovation to save and nourish our planet. The platform of the Unite America Party provides such solutions and the leadership to prevent our destruction.

Support the Unite America Party Platform, published by The Huffington Post at as well as Nation Of Change at and OpEd News at

ForReality's picture
ForReality 9 years 43 weeks ago

Reality is that we human beings are misusing and overusing the resources available to us on this planet to the degree that we are rendering the planet incapable of sustaining us; and, if we comtinue to do that, we will become just another species that survived for a period of time and then became extinct. However, in the case of our species there is a difference -- we will be the first species to ever exist on this planet that could have prevented its extinction but did not.

Robert4Reality 505-821-3798

richinfolsom 9 years 43 weeks ago

I remember the days when the generation of the enlightened were going to stop war and find a way to end hunger. An idea whose time has come. I was a junior high school student and believed in the promise of the first Earth day celebration. The streets and universities were full of students demanding change - and some died in Ohio. I attended seminars and read Buckminster Fuller talk about spaceship Earth.

The protestors eventually became parents and found jobs. The economic boom and futuristic promise of tomorrow silently gave way to S&L securities fraud. The Sherman Anti Trust Act was disbanded. A fictional Wall Street icon told us "greed is good..."

In my lifetime of a mere 50 years the world population has doubled to 7 billion.

I see another generation rising up from the dust of the planet. Will it be this world wide generation find themselves marooned on a blue planet exhausted of once plenishible oil, water, fish, and clean air. Will this generation find ways to move beyond destructive ethnic and religious hate, redefine workable economics for all people and in step with the planet - or through either intentional or accidental nuclear will be set in motion to destroy most if not the entire planet.

Nothing less.

rich in ffolsom

In memory of Robin Williams

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 43 weeks ago

Got my water bill and it shows that, for the last two months, I used only about 40% of what I did last year. It would have been less than that except I tried to have a garden again this year which was a flub as I began to cut back on watering. But, I have to water my least. Gardens are yearly, my fruit trees are far more important.

I've noticed, a number of times, that Starbucks employees waste a lot of water in their sinks. They turn the water on full blast and let it go down the drain while they do other things.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 9 years 43 weeks ago

So would Florida have negative growth- retirees come and die and new ones come and die.

Of course, things have changed since Malthusian theory. The things I read which altered the theory have no way to account for multiple births from multiple egg implantations, people having babies using surrogates, fertility drugs, and longer expected life spans.

Malthus is said to be flawed because he only considered population growth vs. food supply.

Perhaps we have interfered with natural population dynamics which in the past was affected by the inability to conceive, more miscarriages, and higher infant mortality, or fewer people making it to adulthood and conception.

Whether linear or geometric, more people means more garbage and more pollution, and ultimately depletion of non-renewable resources.

If we exhaust our soils there' ll be a lot less food to go around.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 43 weeks ago

Large part of the lifestyle we have become accustomed to here in the West, or the North, whichever you prefer, the United States and Europe, anyway - depends on imperialism. It depends on our stealing the resources, both material and human, from less developed parts of the world. Their populations doubled every 15-20 years while ours was at zero growth from the '70s. Yet our countries were the most "overpopulated" in the world because of their consumption and polution.

Now that technology has made it possible to manage production and manufacture from the other side of the world we have a global economy. Loyalty to native nation state is no more a pragmatic necessity for business and manufacturers and the ruse of the significance of national divisions between people - that was more an implement to divide the global working class than anything else - has been dropped and the real operant division between people, class, has been frankly, if not brazenly, revealed on a global scale. India and China are industrialized and acquiring a large and ever growing middle class and the United States is becoming a third world country.

Ours, here in the West (or North), will not be "the most overpopulted countries in the world" anymore when everybody in India and China has a car and a refrigirator and air conditioning - when they adopt our extravegant, imperial lifestyle. We, flaunting our extravegance in their faces for so long, have created their expectations and those expectations are a major impediment to their reverting to a more "sustainable" lifestyle, which they resisted and refused in climate talks, for example.

To them it sounds outrageous, like we want them to go back to their mud huts and shanty towns. They, pretty understandably, say, "Fuck you, YOU go live in mud huts and shanty towns if you want somebody to!" Sustainability will indeed have to be not at all inconveniencing of that lifestyle of that developing, burgeoning, consuming global middle class if it is to succeed.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 43 weeks ago

D'Anne Marc, in the biblical passage you quoted I think "replenish" referred to human beings replenishing themselves. With the domestication of plants, animals and, ultimately, other people, the dawning of civilization, slavery, patriarchy - and thus, patriarchal, anthropocentric, domineering and "dominioning" religion (as opposed to animistic, more woman centered and earth and nature centered paganism) - and the concomitant need to sudue and subjugate the seeds for our destruction were planted already then, at the writing of Genesis.

Roland369 9 years 43 weeks ago

I agree with what Thom said, however I believe we have already reached a point where “what can we do?” becomes a moot point. Sometimes I wonder if the polluting industries either don’t care, or feel it’s not worth the expense to alter their behavior. It’s like an addict knowing that the next dose of heroin will kill them, but they just can’t seem to quit.

Even now, people are dying due to the pollution of our environment, and the continued exploitation of the planet for greed and profit is not sustainable. Each of us on our own can reduce our own individual “carbon footprint” by adjusting our lifestyles by consuming less, and creating less waste. However in the end, this is just a band aid on a gaping wound that industrialization has created on our environment.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 43 weeks ago
Quote Mark J. Saulys:D'Anne Marc, in the biblical passage you quoted I think "replenish" referred to human beings replenishing themselves.

Mark J. Saulys ~ I couldn't disagree more! "...replenish the Earth." pretty much speaks for itself. If you are stating that the King James Version is a very poor translation of the original version I would have to give you the benefit of the doubt because linguistics simply is not my forte; and, admittedly, the Book of Genesis has undergone more translations than any other book. Also, if your suggestion that this is not the way contemporary theologians from commercial religious institutions interpret the text, I would also tend to agree.

However, if you are challenging the current English translation I'm sorry it quite simply says what it says; and, that is not to "replenish ourselves" that is to "replenish the earth." It could not be stated more simply. It quite simply has been ignored; but, it most certainly is there. Check out my direct quote if my paraphrase confuses you. If that doesn't work look it up yourself.

Replenishing the earth comes right after being blessed and told to "be fruitful and multiply." It comes before "dominion". Of course it stands to reason through simple logic. How can you control something if you don't replenish it? Even a slave needs replenishment. So do simple machines. Even your own body needs regular replenishment or you lose it. Furthermore, how can you dominate something you can't control? It is the basic teaching of the text of the Bible and in no way is to blame for the consequences of humanities cherry picking of the commandments that it wants to obey and that it doesn't.

The simple fact of the matter is that we have fallen away from God. Replenishment costs money. Replenishment takes away from profits.

The Holy Bible
Quote The Gospel According To Luke, Chapter 16:Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Mankind has chosen profit over God. The destruction of the earth is the natural consequence; and, the inevitable price that he must pay for defying both God and logic. After all, God and logic are nothing if not both one and the same thing.

Thumpers will always point to the Bible to justify their sins; and they will lead many astray, including the elect. That fact is also in the Bible. Do not be deceived! The truth is out there, you just have to look it up yourself. Misinterpretation is not the fault of the book it is the fault of the reader.

stecoop01's picture
stecoop01 9 years 43 weeks ago
Quote richinfolsom:In my lifetime of a mere 50 years the world population has doubled to 7 billion.

I'm only 58, but if I manage to survive another twenty years, the population will have doubled TWICE in my lifetime. I am so glad I didn't contribute to least not directly.

dad4future's picture
dad4future 9 years 43 weeks ago

a sad world we are creating...and leaving for the future......we don't have the right, my opinion, to be so greedy and use so much "stuff"....but then we, at least in the western world, have become "The Me Now" Generation....

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 43 weeks ago

D'Anne Marc, I think it may mean, "replenish the earth [with our own offspring]". There's a definite cotradiction between "dominion" and "subjugate" and "replenish the earth". At least there's one between the newer, patriarchal "dominion and subjugate" religious world view and the older animism that was close to the earth and to nature and did, in fact, "replenish the earth".

The older form was, I think, perhaps most importantly, not anthropocentric, willing to share the earth with other sentient beings. I heard a story once of a Native American elder speaking with a white representative of white settlers, white society or maybe even the U.S. government, I'm not clear on that point, sometime in the 19th century. The Native American elder was telling the white guy about how it had been a rough previous winter and many from his band had starved to death.

The white man then asked, "Well then, why don't you clear out that area over there and plant more corn?" pointing to a wooded area near to the land the band was living on.

The elder replied, "Oh we can't do that, that part over there belongs to the deer and if we did that the deer would starve." The whole understanding was that you're supposed to starve to death when there's a rough winter.

That story may be legend and lore or it may, in fact, be true enough. It was told to me by a pretty credible friend who was real into Native American culture so I consider it on good authority but it does illustrate the different attitudes and world views of the different cultures coming from two different levels of technology.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 9 years 43 weeks ago

Mark S -- Wonderful story. Thanks,

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 43 weeks ago

Mark J. Saulys ~ I see what you are saying. It would almost seem likely to be true. Certainly that is the way many people have interpreted it throughout the years; and, that certainly is the way many religious groups still interpret it today. Certainly the religious right have wrapped their collective heads around that idea in order to disenfranchise women and control their bodies through the anti-abortion movement. However, it is simply a wrong interpretation. The word "replenish" could not possibly mean that in this context. The Google Dictionary definition of "replenish" is, "fill (something) up again." "restore (a stock or supply of something) to a former level or condition."

In this context, God is addressing Adam and Eve--the FIRST man and woman. No human has ever lived on the earth before according to the story. It simply would be impossible to "restore" something that has never existed before. Your interpretation could only be correct if the word was translated incorrectly; or, if God himself--allegedly--used a poor choice of words.

Personally, when a scripture works for my needs--as this one does perfectly as written--I don't mess with it. Simply put, for any Bible thumper to make the claim that this scripture commands mankind to repopulate the world the only way they could defend that contention is by admitting that the modern King James version of the Bible is erroneously translated and therefore could not possibly be the exact word of a perfect God; or, God made a mistake; or, that the entire story of creation was just a fairy tale to begin with. In any case, I call such an argument with a religious fanatic, Check Mate! (Guaranteed to have them scratching their heads for months.)

Imagine the power of one little word!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 43 weeks ago

"cellar door"...excuse me...that's two words...never mind!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 43 weeks ago

How about "interstellar"? That's a movie coming out in November. Can't wait!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 43 weeks ago

Yaaaaaa! The new post numbers are here, the new post numbers are here!! If I wasn't so tired I'd pop open some champagne! THANKS NIGEL!! You rock!

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