August 2 was Earth Overshoot Day, and while it sounds like one of those quirky internet holidays, it is not one that our solar consulting services company celebrates. In fact, it’s a day no one will celebrate. It’s the date when the population’s demand for natural resources in a given year exceeds the planet’s capacity to replenish them. Formerly known as Ecological Debt Day, it marks the point when the yearly deficit truly begins.
Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by the Global Footprint Network. This international group strives to changes how the world manages climate change and its ecological resources. They developed the Ecological Footprint, which measures the natural resources remaining on our planet against demand. To determine Earth Overshoot Day, they calculate how many days of the year that the Earth’s biocapacity can fulfill the population’s demand. The remaining number of days left during that year represents the overshoot.
Since Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 2, this means that every day until 2018, we are operating at a deficit of natural resources. This means that all the natural resources used from now until then are unsustainable. It’s a scary prospect considering we are barely halfway through the year.
The first Earth Overshoot Day was devised by Andrew Simms of the New Economics Foundation in London. In 2006, the think tank partnered with Global Footprint Network to launch the first campaign for the overshoot concept. That year, Earth Overshoot Day happened in October. If you do the math, you’ll find that in just over 10 years, we’ve already “lost” two months.
Much research shows that the three major factors affecting our dwindling natural resources include deforestation, overfishing and the emission of greenhouse gases. A way you can quickly contribute towards reducing this resource deficit is to go solar! Solar panels use no combustion and therefore emit no greenhouse gases to generate power. Going solar will reduce your carbon footprint and ultimately save you money on utilities.
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