Have you ever heard of Earth Overshoot Day? No? Neither had I. It's the day each year that we use up the resources that can be renewed within that year. This year, it was on August 1st, so for the rest of the year, we're living on borrowed resources.
It reminds me of the economy and quantitative easing. There's only so far we can push it until there's nothing left from which to borrow. While the analysts say this is all related to climate change, a theory that many find dubious, one thing is absolutely certain – they're right about the looming shortage of resources. And a lot of it is because Westerners are so incredibly wasteful as a society.
Look at water, for example. Droughts have stricken us here in parts of the United States for years, and blogger Michael Snyder has suggested it could quickly lead to a return to Dustbowl conditions similar to those of the 1930s. South Africa has barely managed to push back Day Zero, the day in which Cape Town runs completely out of water, using stringent rationing methods.
Even parts of the US that aren't in drought conditions are seeing frequent water crises, with algae blooms, toxic run-off, chemical spills, and tainted municipal water. Doesn't it seem to you that these things are happening a lot more often?
The global water shortage is coming fast.
At this point, approximately 40 percent of the entire population of the planet has little or no access to clean water, and it is being projected that by 2025 two-thirds of humanity will live in "water-stressed" areas. But most Americans are not too concerned about all of this because they assume that North America has more fresh water than anyone else does. And actually they would be right about that, but the truth is that even North America is rapidly running out of water and it is going to change all of our lives. Today, the most important underground water source in America, the Ogallala Aquifer, is rapidly running dry. The most important lake in the western United States, Lake Mead, is rapidly running dry. The most important river in the western United States, the Colorado River, is rapidly running dry.(source)
By 2030, the UN predicts that 24 million to 700 million people will be displaced because of water shortages. This means that in those areas that DO have water, the resource will be spread thin and suddenly they'll have shortages too.
Let's face it – if we run out of water, people start dying, and quickly. There will be famine because crops won't be able to grow. People will drink questionable water because they're dying of thirst, and then they'll die of a waterborne illness instead.
But water isn't the only thing that we're using faster than can be replenished.
A huge part of the issue with looming food shortages is the shocking amount of waste. 33% of the food produced worldwide is wasted, and a whopping 50% of the food in the US is lost. (Shockingly, a great deal of it is simply thrown away because it's "ugly.")In North America and Europe, it boils down to more than 250 pounds of food wasted by every man, woman, and child each year. Rich countries like the US literally throw away more food annually than is produced in poor parts of the world like the entire sub-Saharan area of Africa.