The Green Column: Tomorrow is the Earth Overshoot Day 2016

Tomorrow, the 8th August 2016, is the Earth Overshoot Day.
This means that on this day the water you will be using to make your morning coffee, the salmon you will eat in your sandwich, and the fuel you will be pump into your vespa (because Steamgreen is hoping you are on a cool freaking holiday), are borrowed from another generation.
This is the exact point when on a graph another  fraction of earth is drawn in order to show to the reader that we are using more than the resources that the earth is able to offer in a certain amount of time, conventionally one year.
Starting from tomorrow everyone of us will be using non regenerating  natural resources.

How did we come to the tremendous day 8/8/16?
You don’t have to ace maths, actually- the computation is pretty simple. It was invented by a pool of economists at the New Economics Foundation:  the measure of Biocapacity is compared to the ecological footprint  of the earth.  They are both measured in global hectares (gha).
If numerically the latter exceeds the Earth Biocapacity (that is the capability of the earth to renew – or absorb – the resources that the population demands) we have an unsustainable situation, in which in order to survive we have to account on  deforestation and  overfishing, for example.
Next, the measure of the debt is transformed in days in a year (by multiplication).

2016 is a borrower in 156 days.


Or, put in other terms,  as of today we are exploiting the equivalent of 1.6 planets to fulfil our needs.

Of course the day can, and usually does, vary depending on the year.  For instance, in 2016 we overshoot on the 13th  August. In 2010 we did it on the 21st  August, in 2000 on the 1st  November.
The critical threshold is estimated to have been trespassed around the early 70s.


Every year the Global Footprint Network is computing this measure and launching a campaign.
As people we can always contribute and improve the situation. Especially tackling the measure of ecological footprint, which is made by 60% of carbon use.
Of course Steamgreen is totally into the Global Footprint Network Campaign and sponsoring it!
This year the campaign is about pledges that we as people can undertake to make our country less of a debtor ( if it is). Get Inspired:

1. Host a vegetarian dinner party.
2. Lower your household energy consumption.
3. Become a Natural Resource Expert.
4.Pick a day to telecommute or to take alternative transportation.
5. Illustrate your commitment to tread lightly  on the Earth.
6. Reduce your paper waste.

#pledgefortheplanet !

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