Borrowing From Our Future: Earth Overshoot Day

Conservation quote (Audubon)

Today, we once again reach Earth Overshoot Day – almost a week earlier than last year.  Earth Overshoot Day (also referred to as Ecological Debt Day) marks the point in the year where we, as collective bad tenants of the planet, consume more than the Earth can annually renew or provide. 

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Earth Overshoot Day is the point in the year when the approximate global footprint exceeds the approximate annual global biocapacity. Consumption surpasses the earth’s capacity for the entire year, and we start (or rather continue) living beyond our global means. For anyone unfamiliar, I encourage you to take a few minutes to visit the Overshoot Day website, discover what Earth Overshoot Day is all about, and talk with your family/friends what you might do to make a difference.

Small Changes to Lower Our Collective Footprint

Little Efforts Add Up to Create Big Results

Sometimes, the sheer scale of these enormous global issues feels overwhelming. It can be difficult to get motivated. I keep reminding myself that everyone’s small individual efforts (including ours) add up towards big changes. To help inspire exactly that sort of cumulative effort, Earth Overshoot Day team have created small doable pledges as part of their #pledgefortheplanet initiative. Why not join in? 

If you’re reading this post after the pledge challenges have ended, most will still be good inspiration for easy personal changes. No matter what the date or year, let’s get started together. 

Earth Overshoot Day #pledgefortheplanet

The headers below are linked to each Earth Overshoot Day pledge page. To get you inspired, I’ve added a few ideas with each pledge to help get you motivated towards your chosen pledge activity or activities. There are also prizes for the Earth Overshoot Day team, if that helps your motivation!  

Host a Vegetarian Dinner Party

Fun and easy! You might even find some new favourites. If you want to take things further than your Overshoot dinner party, you don’t need to go full vegan or vegetarian to make an impact – all changes matter. Meatless Mondays are a great way for individuals and families to make a meaningful and sustained change. Not ready to go meatless? When/if you do buy meat (or anything really), choosing sustainable and responsible sources is also a great way to reduce your impact.  

Lower Your Household Energy Consumption.

Every little bit helps, even just a single degree on the thermostat. We’ve just wrapped up a mini-series on reducing energy use, including heating and coolinglighting, and appliance energy use

Learn Your Country’s Ecological Footprint

This pledge includes a great outward link to resources for exploring biocapacity and consumption around the globe, including historical figures and trends.  Don’t stop at the green/red – dig a little deeper than the parent map into the numbers underneath. You’ll see some of our greenest areas of biocapacity are not so green consumers.  For example, the per-capita figures for here in New Zealand are 10.1GHA biocapacity but a greedy 5.6 GHA ecological footprint. Capacity is trending down and the footprint is creeping up.  

Telecommute or Use Alternative Transport

Telecommuting isn’t an option for many workers and ability to use alternative transport varies with location and personal circumstances. Is public transit an option? Walking? Carpooling?  If it isn’t feasible for work, how about making the choice for some personal errands instead?

Tread Lightly

OK, so this pledge is a little bit silly, but it’s also one of these easiest. It’s meant to get people thinking and talking about choices and change.  Have a little fun!

Reduce Your Paper Waste

Every little bit helps! Reducing use, reusing prior to recycling, and having an effective home recycling system are all part of our own household efforts to reduce waste. 

Earth Overshoot Day Borrowing From Our Future

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