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Earth “Overshoot”

Person crossing a finish line as seen from above.


#biocapacity #overshoot #steady state economy #terminology


Doug Fogelson

We live on a finite planet that can only produce a certain amount of the things we need. Prevailing economic models that are focused only on growth of GDP (often at any cost) as opposed to accepting the limits to renewal, end of overshooting various sectors ability to regenerate.

An organization called Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days that the Earth’s “biocapacity” or supply can provide for humanities ecological demands. With this research and calculation we reach the point of overshoot well before the end of each year. In 2023 it was on August 2nd that our consumption exceeded our capacity. Experts in this field calculate that at the current rate of use we actually need 1.7 “Earths” to produce all that we need (Earth.org).

However, it is feasible to address this by honestly evaluating our sustainability performance across the scope of contemporary life. Making adjustments at home, work, school, etc. implementing short, medium, and long term objectives, and tracking how things are going, are all practical ways to streamline our use. Going further we can advocate for more of a “steady state” economic model, pressure leaders, and implement the SDG changes at scale.

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