National Deficit? How About the Global Deficit?
A lot of people have been complaining about the deficit lately. But while they are expending so much energy worrying about hypothetical numbers representing possible outcomes in a budget that never comes to fruition, another, far more serious deficit has been accumulating.
Welcome to Earth Overshoot Day.
This year, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 20th and on that day the human race began using more resources than the planet can replenish in a year; including CO2 mitigation. You read that right, in eight months we used up a year’s worth of what the Earth can provide in self-sustaining natural resources; and then we kept on using.
This data comes from The Global Footprint Network and is an estimate based on time and recourse trends. Still, anyone but the most far right leaning conservatives must recognize that we are on an unsustainable path and anyone but the most fanatical religious zealots awaiting the rapture should care that we are leaving a really messed up place for our grandchildren to live.
While we squabble over “rights” and “entitlements” and a whole bunch of other garbage that really doesn’t matter, we are turning this planet into a husk. Future generations will have to wage wars over clean water while wearing masks with air scrubbers because we were too busy fighting about gun control and the President’s birth certificate to notice that we squandered everything this world had to offer us.
You may shrug this off as a paranoid delusion. You may look around and see plenty of land for new homes and rolling hills overflowing with a cornucopia of fresh crops and think to yourself, “Where’s the problem?” Well, this is America and it’s very different from the rest of the world. Some of the biggest offenders are Japan, Italy and China, which would need two and a half Chinas in order to keep up with their resource demands. And I hate to tell you this, but their problems are becoming our problems. When looked at on the global scale, it would take 1.5 Earths to support our current levels of consumption and waste production. We can no longer afford a policy of isolationism. We can no longer afford to pretend that this isn’t a very real catastrophe bearing down upon us.
Maybe the next few generations will realize that we are all going to have to work together if we want to fix this. In order for that to happen, all the other stuff that we all think is so important, the stuff that causes us to all hate each other, that stuff is going to have to take a back seat.