Eco-Rep Green Corner: Earth Overshoot Day a very real concern

The Earth has given us the resources to do what we need and want as humans. But as of now, the Earth is giving too much and we should help out. We have to protect our planet as it has protected us. By knowing what you can do in your homes, community and everyday life we can make a great impact on the environment. This is one of the main reasons why we need to be aware of important things that are happening to our planet.

The Global Footprint Network (GFN) is an organization that tracks how much humans depend on nature, which is then compared to the Earth’s ability to replenish the resources that we have used up. Its recent studies have shown that in about nine months, the number of resources we require is identical to the amount that the planet can provide for the whole year of 2012. The reason we keep accumulating this debt is because we continue to release much more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and the ocean, thus leading to Earth Overshoot Day, which is an estimation to the degree that we are over budget in use of our nature.

Earth Overshoot is a concept based in the United Kingdom that helps us figure out how much over budget we are in regards to our use of nature. Why is this so important? Well humans have been depending on nature’s elements for food and shelter. Sometime in the mid 1970s we reached a critical point where we crossed the line and we have been over that line ever since. The human dependency has now reached a point where nature cannot produce enough to keep up with the human species. This is called ecological overshoot. There are many factors that are being affected. Animal species are going extinct, forests are shrinking and the climate is changing. There is more carbon dioxide being released than what the forests can absorb, which can be a major problem.

How much do we have to go over budget for citizens to realize that this is a major problem? The GFN keeps a close eye on human demand and it does this by filtering carbon dioxide needed for food and then comparing it against nature’s capacity to be able to replenish those resources and absorb the waste.

Earth Overshoot Day is extremely important because it essentially means that we are accumulating debt with nature the same way you would with a credit card. We are using more than we can replenish or — in economic terms — we are spending more than what we are earning.

This is a very important issue and it affects all of us, so let’s do our part so we’re not straining our natural resources. We can do it, let’s start now.


– Sharlis Thompson

Lawrenceville Eco-Rep

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