Friday, August 4, 2017

Observing Earth Overshoot Day 2017 two days late

I posted the following story to my Dreamwidth account yesterday.
I gave a lecture on human population yesterday and showed some of the videos I included in A very late celebration of World Population Day. At the end of the lecture, one of my students asked if I did that because it was Earth Overshoot Day. I said no, I would have given that lecture that day no matter what. It turned out to be a happy coincidence. Now I'll have to remember to check for Earth Overshoot Day in the future to observe it at my main blog.
I'm not going to wait until next year.  I'm posting about it today, only two days late (and four days before the anniversary of last year's Earth Overshoot Day) and the day "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" goes into wide release.  Here's the description on the Earth Overshoot Day website.
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot. Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in 2017:

(Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day
Sustainability Illustrated has a video explaining the day and its significance: Earth Overshoot Day 2017 lands on August 2.

In this video, I explain our Ecological Footprint and Earth Overshoot Day with a particular focus on the #movethedate campaign to move back the day of ecological overshoot.
France 24 New English has more, including some encouraging news and advice for a more sustainable future, in Earth Overshoot Day: Humanity to exceed 2017 limit on natural resources, say climate groups.

Much like World Population Day, this is exactly the kind of holiday I should observe here.  Also like that day, it's one I didn't find out about until my seventh year of keeping this blog.  It demonstrates that I still have lots to learn.

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