Happy Earth Overshoot Day...
Except it is not a day to celebrate. Today, 2 August, is the day that we – the human race – have officially exceeded nature’s limit for this year.
This line-in-the-sand in the calendar year is when we have used up the resource ‘’budget’’ – nature’s annual supply of water, soil and clean air – using more natural resources than the environment can regenerate.
It means humanity will be living on ‘’credit’’ for the rest of the year.
There is great power in the names we give to things. From the example of environmental “overshoot” and also economic statements such as “junk status” and “Brexit”, we need to shift our focus to solutions rather than just naming the issue.
While we can’t easily influence credit ratings, we can change our individual and daily use of natural resources.
We can focus on “one planet living” – using only as much as we have, as much as the Earth can sustain.
WWF’s Living Planet Conference recently took place at the end of July. This 2017 thought-leadership event was provocatively titled “What’s your junk status?” combined with the solution-focused hashtag #waste2wealth.
As was noted by Pravin Gordhan, former finance minister and our conference keynote speaker, the continuation of business as usual poses severe threats to our collective wellbeing.
“We need to move away from consumerism and wastefulness,” said Gordhan.
He went on to say that consumerism is inconsistent with wellbeing, and that promoting wellbeing is the challenge of the next few decades.
Despite a Twitter poll run during the conference in which 75% of participants said that we are the throwaway generation, Gordhan urged us not to be the throwaway society. We must share, re-use and recycle, he said.
For our own good and that of the environment, we must value what nature does for us and not waste the food, freshwater and energy it provides.
To know how much you are using of the Earth’s natural resources, you can find out your very own “overshoot” footprint in less than 2minutes: www.footprintcalculator.org
Once you know how much you use, you can then consider where you can turn waste into opportunities towards one planet living!