Earth Overshoot Day is Today, 25 September

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You’re probably wondering, what is Earth Overshoot and why is it today? Good questions. The Global Footprint Network created this measure to help us visualize our impact on the earth. In their words, "Just like any company, nature has a budget — it can only produce so many resources and absorb so much waste every year. The problem is, our demand for nature’s services is exceeding what it can provide."

So, Earth Overshoot Day marks the point each year when we essentially dip into defecit spending — you know, the way all those world governments do it. Or, you, if you have a big balance on your VISA bill. We are literally using the earth’s resources faster each year than the earth can replenish them with those mysterious, miraculous processes like pollination, soil creation, and filtering water. Otherwise known as Nature’s Services . And guess what? This day creeps up earlier in the calendar with each passing year. In the past, it was creeping up by 4 to 6 days each year. Last year, it was on September 23, which experts attribute to the global economic crisis slowing things down a bit.

The Footprint Network, ably directed by Mathis Wackernagel has a refreshingly clear way of telling us about it: "Globally, we now require the equivalent of 1.4 planets to support our lifestyles. Put another way, in less than 10 months, humanity will have used ecological services it takes 12 months for the Earth to regenerate."

They can get even more technical, for those of you who want the bitter details: "In 2009, humanity is projected to use about 40 percent more than nature can regenerate this year. This problem — using resources faster than they can regenerate and creating waste such as CO2 faster than it can be absorbed — is called ecological overshoot."

And there’s more on their excellent, very trustworthy website . Regular readers of this site know that we don’t often report the gloom-n-doom stuff, but this one is always an important wake-up call. Yes, it’s depressing. But, remember — we are an amazingly creative species. If we can land people on the moon, we can figure this one out! The first place to start is the easiest — stop wasting so much. What can you do, today, to help push Earth Overshoot Day back into October next year?

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