Happy Earth Overshoot Day!

Well technically happy belated Earth Overshoot Day. I know I missed it this year, but that’s only because I miss it every year because it’s stupid. For those of you that don’t know, Earth Overshoot Day is the day every year that humanity has allegedly used up all of the resources the Earth could provide for that year. So, if you couldn’t get any oxygen, water, atmosphere, or rain forest today, now you know why. It’s because we used up all of those resources yesterday. Except wait one fuckin’ color-pickin’ minute, because it looks like I’m still breathing.

No pictured: Everywhere right now.

No pictured: Everywhere right now.

That can’t be possible if all of the resources for the year were used up yesterday, right? Except it can because, like I said, Earth Overshoot Day is stupid. The formula used to calculate this date is (world biocapacity / human ecological footprint) x 365. It’s just the total biocapacity of the Earth, divided by how many resources are needed for humans every day, and multiplied by the number of days in a year. Sounds simple, right? That’s because it is, just like anyone that subscribes to the belief in Earth Overshoot Day.

The main problem with this holiday, and the reason it’s able to monger so much fear to simpletons, is that little variables like “world biocapacity” and “human ecological footprint” are in fact a lot more complicated than just simple integers. Their calculation involves many complex interacting systems and is dynamic, meaning it changes. There’s also the fact that the units in this equation make no fucking sense (it comes out to equal “biocapacity-years per ecological footprint”).

Then there’s the problem that this value can never be exactly 1, because 100% efficiency in anything is physically impossible. Therefore, even if we were near-perfect there would always be a deficit in the amount of resources consumed, which would roll over into the need for next year and cause a snowballing effect. Fortunately, the world’s natural resources don’t work like cell phone data plans.

Otherwise we'd all be fucked.

Otherwise we’d all be fucked.

Ultimately this date is just a way for neoliberal cucks to feel like they know anything about (1) the environment and (2) math. Sadly for them, the overwhelming issues of the universe usually cannot be solved by 8th-grade algebra alone. That along with the naturally-replenishing nature of the earth ensures that even if we “use up” all of our resources, there’s still plenty for us to borrow from next year.

The implication in the “Earth Overshoot” number is basically that of anti-smoking ads that show what lungs look like after “just 20 cigarettes” (while conveniently ignoring the fact that living lungs are much better at cleaning themselves than dead ones). They both take a vast, dynamic set of subsystems and attempt to reduce it to static values that stupid people can understand just enough to be scared by them.

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There’s No Such Thing As “Wasting Water”

Plenty of times I hear my more liberal “green” friends complaining about this notion of “wasting water”. Most recently was when one of my slower coworkers commented on how “wasteful” it was for our office to be running the automatically-timed sprinklers while it was raining, as if the sprinklers were less effective because of the rain. This is a childish view.

Let me clue you in on a phenomenon the educated among us know as the water cycle. In this cycle, water falls from the sky, to the ground, and is evaporated back into the sky. Over and over again. Forever. Water does not leave the water cycle. It is perpetually stuck in this loop, down and up and back down.

Because of the water cycle, there is literally no such thing as water “waste”. It will always return to being more water. So what point do these smug pricks think they’re making when they needlessly chastise us for using our water however we want? That using sprinklers when it rains somehow makes less water available to others? It’s as if they think we’re burning it.

Secondly, there’s a legitimate reason to use sprinklers while it’s raining. Rainy weather means less heat which means less evaporation, so your water spends more of its water cycle as water. This is literally the reason you’re supposed water your lawn in the morning. Along with the rain, this means you effectively need to use less water for the same results, A.K.A. YOUR ORIGINAL RETARDED ARGUMENT.

So next time someone complains about wasting water, you can either tell them they’re stupid or just remind them how successful the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was.

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