This week, on the 20th August, we hit Earth Overshoot Day.
This is an approximate date which each year calculates the moment when we have used more natural resources than the planet can re-absorb/reproduce in a year. This means that from now until the end of the year we are using "borrowed" resources from the future.
We first began to overshoot in around 1975 when it was calculated that on the 31st December we had used too much. Since then the overshoot day has moved forwards on average of two to three days a year. This is inevitably down to population growth - since then the population has exploded from 4.1 billion to 7.3 billion people. As we continue to grow we put more and more pressure on our precious planet and it won't be long before we exhaust it. The question is, will we do something before it is too late?
The problem is that we are unwilling to adapt and change our life-styles. Ironically our success has come from our ability to adapt and change, but have we come so far that we can no longer adapt? It is likely that if we do not we will, eventually, destroy our own species.
The thing is, it only takes a few minor changes in our lifestyles to make a huge difference, like cutting back on the meat we consume, turning the tap off when brushing our teeth, wrapping up gifts creatively (use gift bags, old newspaper etc), not washing clothes until they need it, banning use of the tumble dryer. These are small changes that would make little difference to our lives, but so many people are too self-important to even consider it.
If people don't make these changes themselves there will have to be limitations set upon us: meat rations, a set amount of water per person each day... Although it would have to be desperate before the government sets this, because lets face it, when we're not using these resources they are making less money!!!
It is frustrating, yes, when you are limiting yourself and you see people all around you burning up resources like there is no tomorrow. But we need to stop this mindset of "It wont make any difference if I do it" because if every person who thought that actually made the changes we would be in a much better situation today!!
So the next time you go to put your washing in the tumble dryer take a look outside... Is the sun shining? When you go shopping - remember the bags! Ask your bank to stop your paper statements and receive them online instead. Lets stand up and make our changes. Lets make next years Earth Overshoot day a little later. Lets not destroy our beautiful world.
Please comment with ideas on small changes that could be made - lets talk about it and get the ball rolling!