Today is Earth Overshoot Day, a reminder that we’re headed for ecological bankruptcy

Happy Earth Overshoot Day, everyone!

Or maybe not, since it's really nothing to celebrate. In fact, since the day keeps having to move further and further towards the beginning of the year, we should be using the day to take stock of exactly how badly we're treating the planet and how we're overburdening the resources available to us.

The concept behind Earth Overshoot Day is that the planet has a limited amount of ecological resources, and we consume those resources in our daily lives. If we consume too much, we actually need the resources of more than one Earth to satisfy our 'needs'. This video from the Global Footprint Network illustrates it really well:

The date of Earth Overshoot Day is an estimate, calculated based on how much land and ocean is available to both produce resources and consume wastes. Today, August 20th, is the 232nd day of the year. With 133 days left in the year, that means that we've overshot Earth's capacity by about 36% this year.

Here in Canada, on a per Capita basis, our economic footprint is actually a little under half of our country's biocapacity and it's been fairly steady. This is excellent news for us... at the moment. Offsetting that good news is the sobering fact the country's biocapacity is dropping at a steady rate. In 2007, it was only at about 55% of what it was when it peaked back in 1963, and now, six years later, it has likely gone down even more.

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It's scary to think that in the next 37 years, we may be to the point where we need two Earths in order to sustain ourselves... especially when we only have one to work with. Finding a new world out in space and the means to get there quickly would certainly help, but hanging the our future on such a pie-in-the-sky hope just doesn't make sense. It's time for us to changing our 'spending habits', since going economically bankrupt is scary enough. Going ecologically bankrupt is terrifying.

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