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#MoveTheDate 2019

Earth Overshoot Day is on July 29th this year.

Earth Overshoot Day is an important environmental day to learn about. This day gives us an idea how much of the earth’s resources we are using annually. Or better yet, it predicts on what day we will have used all of the natural resources that earth can provide in a year’s time. In a perfect world Earth Overshoot Day would be as late in the year as possible because we are living sustainably. But that’s not the case. Humans use far more resources than the earth can replace/renew in a year. In other words, we are stealing natural resources from our future selves.

Every year, Earth Overshoot Day can land on a different day. That’s because the calculations that predict this day are based on how people in the world are currently living. So not only is it subject to change but it directly correlates to our lifestyle choices. Here are the factors considered when calculating Earth Overshoot Day:

  • The ecological footprint “measures how much demand human consumption places on the biosphere. It is measured in standard units called global hectares.”1 One hectare is approximately 107,639 square feet.
  • The biocapacity “is the area of productive land available to produce resources or absorb carbon dioxide waste, given current management practices. Biocapacity is measured in standard units called global hectares.”1
  • “An ecological deficit occurs when the Ecological Footprint of a population exceeds the biocapacity of the area available to that population. A national ecological deficit means that the nation is importing biocapacity through trade, liquidating national ecological assets or emitting carbon dioxide waste into the atmosphere.”1
  • “An ecological reserve exists when the biocapacity of a region exceeds its population’s Ecological Footprint.”1

The Global Footprint Network is responsible for the work behind calculating the Earth Overshoot Date. With all of these different factors, you can see why every country has a unique set of results. To view the data that they came up with this year, click here.

Knowing the Earth Overshoot Day makes us accountable and aware of our behaviors. It turns something that is usually hard to visualize into something that is digestible and easier to understand. With the given data, we can set objectives of what we would like to do or prevent for the following year. After all, being able to project these kind of predictions should be utilized somehow.

Many people may not know about #MoveTheDate but it is an effort to change our lifestyle behaviors so that we are living more sustainably. As it is, earth will not be able to sustain life as we know it beyond 2050. It goes without saying that there will be many issues leading up to that point if we don’t act now. To learn more about moving the date back and how you can initiate change check out some Solutions here.

To get an idea of how your lifestyle affects the earth, calculate your ecological footprint here.

1 http://data.footprintnetwork.org/

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Greening at the Local Level

We know for sure that humanity has a devastating impact on all life. Science is proving over and over how much our lifestyle/consumer choices collectively affect the planet at large. With so many countries contributing to environmental pollution, different sources of pollution and differing pollutants, the issue is a complex global one. So how are we to solve such a big issue? We have to think about it on a local scale.

I attended a City Ecological Footprint Webinar hosted by Global Footprint Network and it got me thinking about how we can be more aware of our personal daily impacts. Here are some things to first learn and consider:

  1. The earth’s biocapacity is the amount of living things it can support with current sustainability practices (agriculture, fishing, greenhouse gas emissions) and its ability to replenish itself

  2. The U.S. government always wants to to increase its gross domestic product (GDP) which is literally increasing the United States’ citizen buying power or our consumption

  3. With an ever increasing demand for GDP growth, there is an equal increased demand for resources within the environment to create products but growth does not equal sustainability

  4. Earth is already in overshoot meaning it’s beyond its biocapacity; it physically cannot sustain the current the lifestyles that developed countries have and developing countries are lacking

  5. The problem with finding an immediate solution is that national governments and international governing bodies alike work too slowly

With that being said, it’s clear why the answer lies at the local level. Change is happening quicker and more readily at the bottom. Corporations have more to lose when making green decisions. The solution is really within the changes that ordinary people can make in their everyday lives. Here are some changes you can make to be more green:

tips for greener living.png

If you’re interested in finding out more about your personal affect on the environment, you can use this Ecological Footprint Calculator from Global Footprint Network. It asks questions about your everyday life and shows which areas are causing the most damage to the earth. I hope you’ve gained something today. 🌱

Stay green, bloomers.