On March 13th 2023, Canada, the US and the UAE all hit overshoot. Australia hit it on March 23rd. The annual global Earth Overshoot Day (July 27th this year) marks the day when humanity has used all of the biological resources that Earth regenerates during the entire year, and we are in debt going back decades now.
I always feel so conflicted by this annual “event” because we see it, we even claim to understand it, but we never seem to want to do anything about it and we certainly aren’t making the changes required to get back in balance with earth. All the while, the date is slowly inching forwards (or backwards?). Last year it was July 28th globally.
It makes sense to me (and I hope you), that if we live in a country or live a lifestyle that is in overshoot in the first quarter of the year, then it also makes sense that we need to reduce how we live, shop, travel, and consume by 75%. Because if we live beyond the means of the environment to provide for us, one day it will no longer be able to provide, and that day is coming closer – read the environment section below!
Another use of 75% is the number attributed to the required reduction in fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
On Climate Courage, we were discussing eating for our health and the planets, and guess what? Yep, we need to reduce our meat consumption by 75%. Here’s a blog I published on how our family of carnivores went about it – still a work in progress.
If you take the time to listen to this week’s Climate Courage, Rebecca Thorburn shared some stats on animal agriculture, and animals (cows and sheep) use 70% of farmland but only provide 15% of human food. Crazy right? When did we ever think that was a good idea?
However, here’s the real head spinner – the UN said the food supply needs to double by 2050 to keep up with human demand. Now when you do the maths, if meat remains a primary source of food and doubles, that doesn’t work at all.
Why? Well, there is just not enough land on earth for this industry to grow on par with global food needs, so if I was investing in the meat industry, or my pension was tied up in this industry, I’d suggest it might not be a long-term safe bet, because there is no space for it to grow. Obviously, I’m not an expert in this field, but you know, logic and all that.
And we’re not even talking about the wider impacts of animal farming here, just space, because from a bigger picture perspective, it’s a hazardous path to continue treading – from climate change to soil health, biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, water pollution, antibiotic resistance, and more!
The good news is, there’s an answer. According to Greenpeace, if everyone ate a plant-based diet, we’d need 75% less farmland than we use today. That’s an area equivalent to the US, China, Europe and Australia combined.
Going plant-based is the most radical contribution WE can all make to fight the planetary crisis. Imagine how much land we can give back to nature and wildlife? And boy the wild animals need our help, as currently of all the mammals on earth, 60% are livestock, 36% are humans and wild animals – just 4%!
Do check out the king of this industry, responsible for massive deforestation in the Amazon (and elsewhere), it’s also the company providing meat for our fast food burgers – JBS. Don’t forget to check out the sustainability claims on the front page, ludicrous.
So maybe a great idea right now is to use 75% as a baseline if we live in overshoot.
Let’s reduce our clothing, shoes, accessories by 75%.
Let’s reduce our meat, and processed foods by 75%.
If you eat fast food, reduce it by 75% and please, go for the chicken if you must have meat.
Let’s reduce our personal energy use by that much too – at home, on the road, in the skies.
Let’s also look at ideas like reducing our perfect gardens by 75% and giving it back to nature, rewilding, or planting vegetable gardens, with lots of pollinators in the mix – because that’s a good idea right now! Have you seen the floods in California, massively impacting another food basket of the world? Food shortages are on the rise globally.
We need to reduce reduce reduce, because the time for radical transformation is now, and this is what’s required. And of course, yes, this will have economic ramifications and we need to accept this and plan for it, because our governments are not doing it. We have to make them wake up!
The climate economic fall-out was always coming and we thought we had more time. We don’t. We’re living it today. Any encouragement by governments for us to spend more money so we can get our economies going, is not going to help us move into a live-able future. That time is past. We are in too much debt with nature and she’s asking for it to be paid back.
Our path forward is to live in balance with earth, although it would be better if we lived below the global biocapacity per person, because we have a lot of overshoot to make up.
Are you in? Will you work towards a 75% reduction in your biocapacity?
Remember it’s not about perfection…
Please do watch Climate Courage, with the lovely Elika Tasker, Muriel Boutin-Becuwe, Rebecca Thorburn, and Jenni Thorman. It’s not a hammer-to-the-head message, but a gentle encouragement to all do our best, and if a billion people could focus on this, our lives improve significantly, the planets health too. Drop me a note if you’re in?
Friend’s content and mine
Ensuring the Success of Solar – India’s Green Energy Transition really insightful piece on the state of the energy transition in India, by Praveen Gupta
Make 2023 the year we stop Climate Change; do it with The Things That Give Us Joy
Check out Dr David Ko and Richard Busellato. They have a solution, and right now, we just need to register our interest.
Hopium, hydrogen and social leadership Uncommon Courage Podcast – my latest podcast, this time with Paul Martin. If you think hydrogen is the answer to our energy transition, you might want to have a listen to this.
Leave nothing but footprints….
If everyone gave #just10percent of their time, talent, money or voice, we’ll change the world. Can you donate? Make it a regular donation to the World Food Programme. Or donate to the UN Refugee Program, Medicine Sans Frontier, PowerOf , Kiva.org , Soi Dog Foundation. It’s a time for giving and taking care of each other.
Content to read
And here’s the content I’ve been reading or watching this last week. Scan the headlines, read the ones that jump out at you, read or watch them all. Knowledge is power, and global knowledge is even more powerful.
Climate scientists give “survival guide for humanity” in landmark UN report tks Vicky Coburn
James Lovelock: ‘Enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan’ I always share this when it pops up again, from 2008
Climate change: a cry from the future
Business and technology
Why councils spend less on bin collections, potholes and street lights tks Joshua O’Neill
Senior care is crushingly expensive. Boomers aren’t ready. tks Denise Chai
Passion, humour, history
Let me know what jumped out at you? Or share with me what you’re reading? I love that!
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Four environment resources to help you navigate this challenging territory.
- Knowledge, constantly updating
- Individual action and awareness, so we do our part
- Resources for those struggling with eco-anxiety. Please share with your community.
- Finally, more than 100 mini-videos on many topics regarding the multiple crisis’ we face. Feel free to download and use as your own. No credit necessary.
Uncommon Courage: an invitation
Uncommon Courage is an invitation to be your courageous best self every day. It’s also an antidote to the overwhelm, fear, and rage rolling around the world. But it’s more than a book; it’s an invitation to join an inclusive community that wants to better understand humanities challenges – both global and personal – in order to take courageous action and create a better world for everyone. If Covid19 has given us the time and space to reflect, Uncommon Courage gives us the nudge we need to create lasting change.
Better yet, order it from your local bookstore, so you can #SupportLocal.
You can read the reviews, including a new five-star review on Book Commentary, another five-star review on ReaderViews, a review on BookTrib, and three more on Booklife, another on Book Commentary and Blue Ink Reviews. I’m also collating reviews on my Website too. Have a look and grateful to everyone who has written or recorded one.
Come and join the conversation in my Facebook Group Uncommon Courage.
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