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In 1982 William R. Catton published OVERSHOOT The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change. In it Cattonl illustrates the trap we humans have set for ourselves. Fossil fuels have allowed humans to live from what Catton calls “ghost acres,” the land or ocean that would be necessary to produce the various goods we make or grow using fossil fuels. We are spending the capital of what from this perspective is nature’s bank account. This has allowed the population and the way of life for many to greatly exceed the carrying capacity of the planet. In so doing we have lost the ability to live within our means. We have overshot that ability by a wide margin.

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