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Thursday
Jun292017

« August 2 - A Special Day for Us and Earth. Know Why? »

 

Put August 2 on your calendar. It needs equal attention as holy days and holidays. We need to schedule vigils and rituals. Public locations would be good such as in front of a too-big-to-fail bank or a fossil fuel company or a transnational corporation that gets government subsidies while paying their CEO millions.

Why? What’s special about August 2? It’s the day we start using Earth’s 2018 resources—that’s next year’s resources. This year’s are used up. Gone! That means that for 4 months and 30 days of 2017—over 1/3 of the year—we’ll be going into debt.

How do we know this? 

The Global Ecological Footprint website has been developing the science of calculating ecological footprints. Their motto is “Advancing the Science of Sustainability.” Measuring Ecological Footprints is far more valuable than measuring Gross Domestic Product (GDP), even though GDP gets far, far more attention. Ecological Footprint calculations help us understand the wellbeing of our planet and her inhabitants. GDP, on the other hand, measures economic productivity. As such, it cannot distinguish between polluting the air or streams and building affordable housing or cleaning up a toxic waste site. But the Ecological Footprint measures the impact a household, city, region, or nation is having on the ecological capabilities of Earth to sustain life.

The website explains that it’s like a financial budget.

Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures humanity’s demand for and supply of natural resources and ecological services. And the data is sobering. Global Footprint Network estimates that approximately every eight months, we demand more renewable resources and CO2 sequestration than what the planet can provide for an entire year.”

When we use more money than we have it our bank account, it’s called “overdrawn. When we use more resources than what our Earth can produce in a year it’s called “overshoot.” The definition for “overshoot” is given on the website as:

“Global overshoot occurs when humanity’s demand on nature exceeds the biosphere’s supply, or regenerative capacity. Such overshoot leads to a depletion of Earth’s life supporting natural capital and a buildup of waste. At the global level, ecological deficit and overshoot are the same, since there is no net-import of resources to the planet. Local overshoot occurs when a local ecosystem is exploited more rapidly than it can renew itself.”

This day, special in a most unhappy way, has been moving earlier. In 1971, Earth Overshoot Day was on December 21.  The Ecological Footprint calculations for all the years since show the trend. and earlier each year.

Now we are urged to make a pledge to move Earth Overshoot day back and back until it falls on December 31. Or better yet, that we never reach it at all. The folks at Earth Overshoot Day create a new pledge every week. Here’s their challenge to us:

“How will YOU #movethedate of Earth Overshoot Day?Choose one or more of our pledges below to #movethedate and create a sustainable future!We’re launching a new pledge each week.”

Moving Earth Overshoot Day back a day is like moving a day closer to OneEarth living. 

 


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