Humans have now reached Earth Overshoot Day 2016. In less than eight months, we have used more natural resources than the planet is capable of producing during an entire year. For the remainder of 2016, we will be selfishly living on resources rightfully belonging to future generations.
Earth Overshoot Day
“From Monday August 8, we will be living on credit because in eight months we would have consumed the natural capital that our planet can renew in a year,” says Pascal Canfin, head of the French section of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). In 2015, humans overshot the Earth’s resource budget on August 13. And in 2000, Earth Overshoot Day occurred in late September. The trend is unsettling.
You can think about this as a bank account. For the first 7 months and 8 days in 2016, we lived on our regular salary, after that we started chipping into our savings or racking up credit card debt. (Source: video transcript).
Published on August 5, 2016
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Our current pace of over-development and overpopulation is irrefutably unsustainable. If humans continue lo live as they do now, we will continue to need the resources of 1.6 planet Earths to meet our demands. And if the entire planet adopted a North American lifestyle, we would require 5 Earths to meet our needs.
By using a footprint calculator you can determine the resources needed to support your present lifestyle. Your personal ecological footprint is shaped directly by the lifestyle choices you make — purchases, food consumption, driving, leisure, travel, recycling, housing, etc.
A more indirect (but equally critical) component of one’s ecological footprint is one’s socio-political engagement. Influencing our governments on broader issues — carbon pricing, renewable energy, public transit, physical infrastructure, goods produced, land-use planning, building codes, low-carbon economy, clean technology, energy efficiency, conservation — will have a significant effect on reducing the national ecological footprint.
Pledge for the Planet
Taking the #pledgefortheplanet is a great action to undertake for the remainder of 2016 as we move beyond Earth Overshoot Day. Pledge for the Planet suggests six pledges you may want to commit to. I’ve selected the following two to begin with.
Lower my household energy consumption
Household power consumption makes up 36% of the total electricity use in the United States, 33% in Europe and 20% in Asia. Because electricity is still mostly generated from non-renewable sources, it is responsible for 38% of the global carbon Footprint. (Source: Pledge 2).
Become a natural resource expert. Determine if my country is an ecological creditor or debtor?
I want to know more about my country’s ecological footprint. Does Canada have an ecological deficit or a reserve? How many resources does Canada have and how much do Canadians use?
And how may earths would we need if the entire world lived the Canadian way of life?
Earth Overshoot Day must serve as a stark reminder of the actions we need to urgently take on an individual, country and global level to respect planetary boundaries and achieve sustainability and resilience for all. (World Wildlife Fund).
Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Activist and a blogger. He’s a member of 350.Org (Ottawa), Climate Reality Canada and Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa). Rolly has been published widely in both print and online publications. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest.