Today is 22nd August 2020.
We are living through a global pandemic.
The pandemic and climate change are hand-in-glove when it comes to catastrophes – both of which are man-made. But be in no doubt, the hand represents climate change. The glove? That, we can remove.
A lesser known fact is that today is Earth Overshoot Day.
What is Earth Overshoot Day?
In 1970, scientists began recording the date by which human demand for ecological resources exceeded that which the planet could regenerate within that year. The graph shows the year-on-year increase since then.
So, what does that mean? Well, at the current rates we are consuming 1.75 planets worth of energy per year. We are in debt to future generations. We are stealing their carbon budget faster than ever. We are not slowing our insatiable demand for energy via consumerism.
Humanity has been at war with Nature for a few centuries now. Since the Industrial Revolution which began right here in the U.K. in fact.
Now, we may be the dominant species on the planet, but that does not mean we are the dominant force. It’s laughable that some amongst us believe we are.
Today isn’t Earth Day. That’s the day we celebrate our planet and showcase all the good things people are doing around the world to battle the climate crisis.
Shout, Shout, Let It All Out
But there is something which must be shouted from the rooftops…
In 2019, Earth Overshoot Day was 29th July – the earliest ever recorded.
This year, it has been stalled by almost a month. How? Yep, you know what I’m going to say: the pandemic.
You may well have noticed that during lockdown as humanity activity ground to a halt and became quieter, you could hear the birds sing even in towns and cities. The air seemed crisper, clearer. Well, it was. Without the whopping amount of carbon being pumped into our atmosphere on a daily basis and at the rate it was pre-lockdown, you don’t have to be a scientist to understand the difference – a reduction. It was like the planet had gone from a 40-a-day habit to being a social-smoker.
Other species dared to venture out intrigued by the silence which befell them…something unprecedented in modern times.
Humans are noisy. Really noisy. So when we fell almost silent, Nature raised it’s head.
2020 is teaching us a lesson. A hard one.
We can continue working against the planet – our home – or we can hit reset and work with the planet to restore the balance because we cannot continue consuming at the rates we are. We must become producers and re-generators because without a healthy planet, we have nothing.
Being forced by a planetary Cease and Desist Order to take a breath (a cleaner one) and reflect upon our lifestyles, upon the terrible loss of life Covid-19 has inflicted upon us, upon our commonalities and our vulnerabilities, and, in particular, our differences and our weaknesses both physically and morally, must be seized as an opportunity to do things differently. It cannot be a return to “business as usual” – it cannot be a return to “normal”. I heard someone say a little while ago that they couldn’t wait for that – they were desperate for things to “get back to the way they were” – but that mindset cannot and should not be the foundation upon which we build upon. That mindset is last year’s news. It has to be. If we don’t do things differently, now…today…as a species, as nations, as communities, as families, as individuals, then your future, your children’s future, your grandchildren’s future is bleak. Very bleak.
Is there something you can stop consuming or reduce your consumption of today or something you start producing today that will have a positive planetary impact?
A green recovery is the only recovery.
To find out more, visit: OvershootDay.org
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