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Pabitra Mukhopadhyay


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Do you bother?

The Earth Overshoot Day in 2012 fell on August 12. This year, it is apprehended that the overshoot day will come even earlier.
Also known as ecological debt day, it is expressed as:
(World's Biocapacity/World Ecological Footprint)x365
Simply put it is the day in the year when we will consume what earth can grow in one year. From that day on we are on a deficit budget.
In 1989, the overshoot day fell on December 19.

As we go about in our daily business, we are close to the day our entire existence on earth will be on a deficit.

Does this piece of news bother you?

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    Aug 12 2013: Pabitra,
    I wish I had found this thread a month or more ago. I think with global warming and pollution and all we need to work harder to keep stuff generally clean. We need to keep good places for animals to live and wilderness areas for hunting an fishing, and some other areas that we just leave alone and stay out of so the Earth can remember itself and better heal from what we do to it.
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    Jul 13 2013: Say What?

    If we have reached this day how come we are not deed?

    The planet evolves (man is part of evolution), the amount of food that can be grown changes.

    People like Norman Borlaug hugely increased the yield of the worlds farms.

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        Jul 13 2013: Well fortunately I have spent many years preparing my lungs for the air of the future, consequently I can survive on much less oxygen that you non smokers, you might say a flatland Sherpa.
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          Jul 13 2013: More than half the world population breathes air that falls below standards WHO thinks breathable. Now ask me the source. :)
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        Jul 13 2013: I'll bite who is the source?
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      Jul 13 2013: I take it that you don't bother Pat. But its rather strange to dispose of an idea as nonsense without telling why. Are you scared by the idea?
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        Jul 13 2013: Yup if I bow down before the Malthusian Meme I'm already toast, not to mention the nonsensical idea that there is such a benchmark in the first place.
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          Jul 13 2013: It's ok. It's not necessary that we all will be having same and equal sense either.
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    Jul 13 2013: It does bother me but bothering won't help anyone.

    We should do something about it.
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    Jul 26 2013: PM
    I read through this and was amused on how this idea got twisted 7 ways to Sunday.
    I am not sure that this idea bothers me on a couple of levels...
    Currently there are many people who have minimally consumed, but there are so many more who have over consumed.
    If all people were to consume what they needed and not wanted... the earth would most likely have consumables to spare.
    On the other hand, there seems to be a craze in some circles to find and produce at some profit a new product to be consumed. Who knew I'd be using a product from the stevia plant... ask me if I ever saw a stevia plant.... but here I am using stevia in it's commercial form.
    I think most of us think that there will always be something to eat... and if push ever comes to shove...
    there is... soylent green.
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      Jul 26 2013: Mike, there is a tremendous disparity in personal consumption between individuals, societies and nations. When there was enough resources or lesser number of people on earth, this disparity did not weigh in so much. But I think that luxury is no more.
      And when I say consumption, it includes energy, water, minerals and photo-synthetic produce.
      We are very poorly aware about the figures and earth's regenerative capacities. Sadly, many influential profiteers do not want us to know even.
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        Jul 27 2013: I think you may be looking at the glass have empty... Mankind has seen so many new and innovative processes coming on line.... we are now extracting natural gas from 3 miles down for energy resources lasting a few hundred more years. We are on the verge of new technologies at the microlevel. New methods for water reuse, and although it may not be true there, in many parts of the world there has been an increase in reforestation and farm output. Yes, consumption is not regulated, but as mankind gets better at improving itself, I got to believe that it will all level out.

        PS... So, my soylent green reference has fallen flat.
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    Jul 14 2013: I care about this; but I'm not bothered. Humanity will overcome all its challenges; just like in the movies.
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    Jul 14 2013: I care about this; but I'm not bothered. Humanity will overcome all its challenges; just like in the movies.
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    Jul 14 2013: Nope. I stopped caring.
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    Jul 14 2013: "Earth Overshoot Day" sounds to be an interesting concept / hypothesis , which I came across after reading your post Pabitra !! Will check to understand it more in depth..

    Well regardless one understands or agrees with that concept or not , I think many people are out there who really bothers about the environment, which is also visible in changes in legislation to waste management..... thats the good news. Big corporates are keeping environmental agenda in their deliverable....
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    Jul 13 2013: Someone who is enough bothered can check the publications.
    One who wants to know the methodology of calculating ecological footprint can check this
    Biocapacity as given by
    Our environment can be viewed as a bank of ecological goods and services, our livelihood determines how we handle the bank account (spending/saving). The resources are not infinite. So we need a budget.
    I thought many, particularly from the US are conversant about deficit budgets and debt spending.
  • Jul 13 2013: I have to agree with Lawren Jones.

    The data needed to calculate this date does not exist.

    Someone has developed a calculation that suits their purpose.
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      Jul 13 2013: "The data needed to calculate this date does not exist."
      What is the basis of your above observation?
      • Jul 13 2013: Just common knowledge from general reading.

        There is a big difference between hard data and estimates.

        For example, it would be impossible to actually measure the growth of life in the oceans. Much of the ocean bottom has not yet been explored much less measured. If you find an accurate count of mosquitoes, it would be interesting to learn about that counting method. I recently read that microbiologists estimate that we have cataloged less than ten percent of the species of bacteria. It amazes me how people underestimate our ignorance.
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          Jul 13 2013: How do you think we come to know about the extent of the observable universe, its age etc? What is the exact data about how long one will live? If there isn't any, do you think its foolish to plan for future?
          Data is generated when one knows where to look and what to look for. Estimation is a scientific process of prediction.
          When the size of the US economy is mentioned in dollars nobody expects to have each dollar counted . Yet whole policies of trade and commerce rely on the estimation.
      • Jul 13 2013: Pabitra, you make some very good points.

        So it all depends on the quality of our estimates, and the confidence we have in them. Some people judge some estimates to be valuable and useful for specific purposes, and other people have little confidence in the same figures.

        The estimation for the extent of the observable universe has no significant influence on my life, so I have no concern with its accuracy.

        The data that is used to estimate probable life expectancy is rather good, so that is just one factor that I use to estimate my own probable life span.

        It is possible for an estimate to be scientific, but in this case, even though some of the data and the methods used in the calculation might have scientific origins, I do not consider it scientific. No one is making an hypothesis with respect to this date and testing it with an experiment.

        Do the people who calculate this date provide an error range, plus or minus 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 11 months?

        Personally, I have zero confidence in the Earth Overshoot Day, and consider it useless for my own purposes.
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    Jul 13 2013: I'd very much like to know how 'World's Biocapacity" and "World Ecological Footprint" are calculated, by whom, and what political axe they have to grind.

    This is just more anthropic ecological damage alarmist foolishness. 'Earth Overshoot Day' really?!
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      Jul 13 2013: Your last sentence gives away your possible lack of sincerity apparently expressed in your first sentence. Are you interested to know or predisposed towards a particular notion?
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    Jul 13 2013: Hi Pabitra:>)
    I haven't heard the term "the earth overshoot day", nor have I heard the term "ecological debt day". I understand the concept however.

    I can't say that it "bothers" me.
    Bother: "to cause to be nervous; to annoy; to cause to be anxious".

    I don't think/feel nervousness or anxiety solves too many challenges, so I prefer to be aware, mindful, and do what I can to help support the condition of our earth which sustains us.
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      Jul 13 2013: Dear Colleen :)
      I think bother also means : to concern oneself in intransitive form.
      You might not have heard the term, but what I know about you, I think you feel concerned about the sustainability issue. Please correct me if I am wrong.
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        Jul 13 2013: You are right Pabitra....concern is also part of the definition:>)

        You are also correct in that I have concern for our sustainability issue. My mom taught me 60+ years ago to be concerned about our environment, even though at that time, there didn't seem to be any big concern about it.

        She lived life with integrity, being respectful of our earth and all the connections which intertwine with people and our environment. The awareness to protect and care for our environment has been part of the foundation of my life experience. I am also aware that I can only do what I can do in the space I occupy and visit on this earth school journey. I am aware that I have positively impacted more than a few people:>) BTW...are you still growing lettuce?
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          Jul 13 2013: :) Yes. I am growing tomato too, but somehow they are not turning as red as I would like. Something to do with the quality of my compost, I guess.
          Your mother and M.K.Gandhi may be of same age, I guess. He had the same attitude towrads environment.
          People who live close to nature, depend on it and interact with it meaningfully are more aware about the sustainability issue than scientists. In India Garhwali women prevented felling of huge trees by hugging the trees - that started an environmental movement named Chipko (meaning 'hug'). They did it because they were more immediately concerned than the average academic environmentalist.
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          Jul 14 2013: Thanks TF ! You have a point there. It can very possibly be the reason. We have a saying here which translated in English will be : a rookie gardener drowns the garden. LOL!!
          I'll be careful and let you know the results.
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        Jul 13 2013: Pabitra,
        Re: Tomatoes:
        It could be the soil, could be sun exposure, could be amount of water, and it could be the particular kind of seed or seedlings. You know that there are lots of different colors and shades of tomatoes.....right?

        I realize my mom was in good company with her respect for people and the earth which sustains us. I heard about that movement.....they were good "tree huggers":>)

        We can try to explain all kinds of things academically, or logically. The important thing, is believing in something to the point where we incorporate that belief into every moment of the life experience. That's why, when people express concern for our environment today, I think.......well yeah! It is a part of me on a very deep level:>)

        BTW, I LOVE that you have added more edible plants:>)
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          Jul 14 2013: Colleen we have this strange strife within the family. Sumana is an artist and she sees beauty in flowers. I, on the other hand, am an artisan who is ever looking for things to eat. Hahaha.
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        Jul 14 2013: My Dear Pabitra.....not to worry....no strife...you can have it all!

        Are you and Sumana aware that there are MANY edible flowers? I eat flowers all the time because they are very nutritional. They look as GREAT in salads as they do in the garden. So, have some fun with your garden. Many of the edible flowers grow wild here, and of course, I let them grow in the garden so I can have them for lunch:>)

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        Jul 14 2013: Pumpkin and squash flowers are DELIGHTFUL! The only problem with that is once we pluck the flowers, we don't get as many fruits! The commercial growers who supply pumpkin/squash flowers for the market plant hundreds/thousands of plants just to get the flowers.
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          Jul 14 2013: Well I do eat pumpkin flowers only occasionally. I have already submitted a thread named 'Eating 100% green', and I hope you will share your experience there. :) Flower, leaf, trunk, roots everything! :)
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        Jul 14 2013: Great idea Pabitra!
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      Jul 14 2013: Water being wasted for watering lawns, flushing toilets? I simply don't understand. A lawn grows when it is watered. Save on water because it is limited or the proper system handling capacity is not present? Enlighten me please.

      I lived with someone that left every single light on but would turn the water off when brushing their teeth.
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          Jul 15 2013: OK, I have not lived or been to any of those places. I have always lived around plenty of water or enough around in that area for given population.
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    Jul 13 2013: Dude, I'm sorry. Can you explain the math and date more? You are talking to a chimp that has never heard of this :)

    Never mind, I will watch the video. Dumb Vincent.
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      Jul 13 2013: Rockstrom didn't talk directly about this. Here is a little explanation.
      I hope you remember that in another conversation about future of Global Economy I said that by 2050 we will have no option but to change to natural Capitalism.
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        Jul 14 2013: Thanks for the insight, Pab. I ride a bicycle as much as possible and enjoy it every time. I don't enjoy driving so much. I will admit to love flying. They just don't make rubber bands that big to keep the big fan in the front spinning. I wish there was an alternative.
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      Jul 13 2013: Don't you think our grandchildren will rate us a wasteful lot?
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        Jul 13 2013: We would not blame our grandparents.

        Older generations may have brought this upon all of us but they didn't know the consequences nor how the energy resources would harm in the long run. It was the first trial and no one is to blame for it. No one knew that energy would be depleted nor that it would harm nature. It was a semi-mistake and it will cost us but its forgivable. Its now upon us younger ones to clean up the mess and create something better.

        Actually the blame would be on us younger generations for not coming up with an idea, incase we don't.
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    Jul 13 2013: In some case..