Vicki Robin

Oops, burned through our allowance, again

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2009 at 10:14 AM

Your Money or Your Life helps you live within your means. Below your means, really, so you liberate yourself from debt, excess and overwork. Did you know, though, that our collective human consumption has an “enough point” – a limit of spending beyond which more isn’t better. Yesterday, September 25, was Earth Overshoot Day, according to the Ecological Footprint. When we’re kids we often weren’t aware how little allowance we had left until it was almost gone. Same with the earth’s resources…We don’t feel the pain until the piggy bank of water, oil, minerals, fisheries, forest cover is very low.

The Ecological Footprint people say:

Unlike governments, nature doesn’t do bailouts. Yet as of today, humanity will have placed more demand on ecological services – from filtering CO2 to producing food, fiber and timber– than nature can provide in this year, according to Global Footprint Network calculations. From now until the end of the year, we will meet our demand for ecological services by depleting resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“It’s a simple case of income versus expenditures,” said Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel. “For years, our demand on nature has exceeded, by an increasingly greater margin, the budget of what nature can produce. The urgent threats we are seeing now – most notably climate change, but also biodiversity loss, shrinking forests, declining fisheries, soil erosion and freshwater stress – are all clear signs: Nature is running out of credit to extend.”

They go on to say:

Just like any country, company, or household, nature has a budget – it can only produce so much resources and absorb so much waste each year. The problem is, our demand on nature exceeds its capacity to generate resources and absorb CO2,a condition known as ecological overshoot. We now use a year’s worth of capacity in less than 10 months. Our calculations show that if we continue with business as usual, according to moderate U.N. projections, in less than 25 years humanity will require the regenerative capacity of two planets– a level of demand that is likely to be physically impossible to meet.

The beauty of Your Money or Your Life is that it does double duty. It helps you live within your means and by relinquishing consumption that didn’t make you happy anyway it reduces human demand on the earth.

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