Do you know what EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY is? If not please keep reading as this is important AND it happened today the 20th August 2013!
Earth Over shoot day is the day when man exhausts nature’s budget for the year! For the next 4+ months we are now in overdraft, using next year’s allocation of natural resources – this year. Not only are we using next years resources, but we are accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Global Footprint Network (GFN) is the scientific organisation that monitors this expenditure in the same way as a bank monitors income against expenditure. (HYPERLINK “http://www.footprintnetwork.org” ) GFN measures humans demand for and supply of natural resources and ecological services with SOBERING results.
In 1993 Earths Over Shoot day fell on 21 October and in 2003 on 22 September. This means that every year the over-shoot day arrives earlier. What does this mean? “It means that we are living beyond our means”!
Historically man has used natural resources to build cities and roads, to provide food and create products, and to absorb our carbon dioxide at a rate that was well within the earth’s budget. The biggest problem struck in the mid 1970’s when man crossed the threshold i.e. human consumption began outstripping what the planet could reproduce.
What exactly does this mean? It means that today we need 1.5 Earths to supply the services that man needs/wants, and man will need 2 Earths by the middle of the century.
So what is the big deal in ‘spending’ our natural resources quicker than they can replenish themselves? This ‘spending’ is showing itself in: Climate change – too many greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans. That is one example, but there are others such as shrinking forests, species losses, fisheries collapse, high commodity prices and civil unrest, to name a few. These environmental and economic crises are symptoms of a looming catastrophe! MAN IS SIMPLY USING MORE THAN THE PLANET CAN PROVIDE.
We all need to do our bit – no matter how small – to help save our planet after all it is the only one that we have!
Nigel Anderson – Guide for African Insight