Worried about our national debt? How about our wildlife debt? We’re living on borrowed time, using resources at an unsustainable rate. It will catch up to us.
This week WWF celebrated Earth Overshoot Day, a.k.a. Ecological Debt Day. Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend. Celebrating this day marks the exhaustion of nature’s budget for the year.
The Ecological Debt is calculated by dividing the amount of natural resources produced by Earth annually (world biocapacity) by humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources annually (world ecological footprint) multiplied by 365 or (world biocapacity/ world Ecological Footprint) X 365.
The following countries have already exceeded their biological capacity:
(For other countries ecological footprints go to Footprints by Nation.)
What does this mean? We’re living on borrowed time.
*African elephants could be gone by 2020.
*Rhinos will be gone by 2026.
*Tigers could be extinct in 12 years.
*9 out of 10 predatory fish in our oceans are almost gone.
*Population growth is expected to cause an energy crisis by 2030.
*Half of the world’s population could face severe food shortages by the end of this century.
*Our rainforests may be gone in 100 years.
Overshoot Day is not just about doom and gloom, it’s a wake-up call. Not all damage can be undone, but we can stop it here. We can’t afford to be infinite consumers anymore. It’s not a luxury to recycle, and it’s not a “hippie” attitude to go green. Our survival depends on it.
There IS hope! Since 2009, countries representing 80% of global emissions have made economy-wide pledges of action. Economically, global investment in renewable energies outstripped fossil fuels for the first time last year. There are programs like REDD ( ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation’) being implemented across the globe.
Overshoot day originally began on December 19. This year it was August 20. If we don’t stop devouring our resources, Overshoot Day will continue to come earlier and earlier every year. Whatever your cause, your purpose, your “thing” – it’s imperative we ALL work together to keep our planet, to save ourselves.