This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Overshoot Day

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) has declared today to be Earth Overshoot Day--the day in the year when we humans have used up the renewable resources that the earth has available to us for the entire year.
We are now operating in overdraft. For the rest of the year, we will maintain our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures humanity’s demand for and supply of natural resources and ecological services. And the data is sobering. Global Footprint Network estimates that in approximately eight months, we demand more renewable resources and C02 sequestration than what the planet can provide for an entire year.
Perhaps not coincidentally, this was also the day in which the draft of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was leaked to the press. The results, as reported in the New York Times, should not surprise you:
An international panel of scientists has found with near certainty that human activity is the cause of most of the temperature increases of recent decades, and warns that sea levels could conceivably rise by more than three feet by the end of the century if emissions continue at a runaway pace. 
The scientists, whose findings are reported in a draft summary of the next big United Nations climate report, largely dismiss a recent slowdown in the pace of warming, which is often cited by climate change doubters, attributing it most likely to short-term factors.
I personally like the metaphor of having jumped off a building and thinking that we're flying...so far, so good, eh...?

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