This year Earth Overshoot Day – otherwise known as the-day-human-demand-on-nature-exceeds-supply – falls on August 8th. After this date, we will use resources at a rate which outpaces Earth’s ability to regenerate them. This means we are not only living on borrowed capital from future generations, but we are also eroding the natural capital that supports life on Earth today. This day has moved earlier in the calendar each year (last year, Overshoot Day was August 15th).
Watch this video to learn more about Ecological Overshoot:
What can you do to reduce the “amount of Earths” or the amount of resources humanity is using?
Here are a few “easy” suggestions (every little bit makes a difference!):
- Waste less food. Plan your meals to avoid overbuying/accidentally throwing away unused food items, buy “ugly” produce, save “scraps” to make stock, etc. Roughly 50% of all produce in the United States is thrown away—some 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually. For an American family of four, the average value of discarded produce is nearly $1,600 annually. If emissions from wasted food were ranked amongst countries, it would be the 3rd largest emitter of greenhouse gases (after the U.S. and China).
- Invest in reusable bags and bottles. 100 billion plastic bags are used annually, many of which end up in landfills, on the beach, or in the ocean. Americans use 70 million plastic bottles a day, of which only 14% are recycled and while production uses up to six times as much water as the amount inside.
- Eat less meat. Consider taking part in Meatless Mondays, reducing red meat/dairy consumption, or overall meat consumption in general. Reducing your meat/animal product consumption will decrease greenhouse gas emissions as well as fresh water consumption. Livestock and their byproducts account for 18% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions and Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today.
- Walk or bike whenever possible. If you switch to biking instead of driving a midsize car on a 10 mile round trip commute 5 days a week for a year, you would reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions by 1.3 Tons – just think if everyone did that how great the impact would be! (learn more: http://youcanbikethere.com/environmental-benefits/)
- Take shorter showers. Reducing a 10-minute shower to 5 minutes will save 12.5 gallons (47.3 liters) of water.
- Choose items packaged or made from renewable materials – Pay attention to what you’re buying, where it’s coming from, and what it comes in.
Have any good ideas? Comment below!