Tomorrow – Tuesday 5 May is Earth Overshoot Day for New Zealand! What on Earth does that mean?
It means that if everyone on our planet, all 7.8 billion of us, consumed and used resources (Ecological Footprint) at the same rate that we do in New Zealand; then on 5 May this year we would have used up all of the Earth’s biocapacity. Based on the latest data in 2016, Earth’s global biocapacity is only 1.63 global hectares (gha) per person but New Zealanders used 4.8gha so if everyone in the world lived like us Kiwis we would be using 2.9 Earths!!! Check out more about this on the Earth Overshoot website.
What can we do about this? We can work to Move the Date and everything we do counts, whether it’s planting trees, reducing waste, walking rather than driving a car or using alternative energy sources.
First of all, find out what your household ecological footprint is – there’s a great carbon footprint calculator tool on the Kiwi organisation, Toitū Envirocare’s website – plus tips on reducing your environmental impact.
I calculated my own household carbon footprint and was stoked that I’m under the NZ average but my travel impact is massive because I live on the West Coast and drive my car everywhere as public transport isn’t an option. How do I offset this?
- I’m making my own yoghurt so have been able to reduce the amount of hard plastic containers and foil teartops going to the landfill and into recycling.
- I also make my own bread reducing soft plastic bags and other packaging going to the landfill.
- Living near a beach makes it easy to take a walk locally rather than driving somewhere else.
- Using reusable cotton bags for fruit and produce and reusable shopping bags when at the supermarket.
- Composting all my food waste and garden rubbish helps.
- Clearing gorse and blackberry at home and planting native trees instead.
- Refusing more packaging when I am buying anything.
What else is there that we can do? There’s plenty more – have a look at these solutions.
We can help to #MoveTheDate – there is an overall Earth Overshoot Day each year which “marks the date when humanity has used the biological resources that the planet’s natural ecosystems are able to regenerate in the whole year. In 2019, the date landed on July 29. We need to push that date back to December 31 and beyond to get back in balance with the Earth and reach one-planet compatibility.” It’s been calculated that “reforesting 350 million hectares of forest would move the date of Overshoot Day by 8 days”. If we each just planted one more tree in New Zealand…… As they say, every journey begins with one step.
Get involved and do what you can to reduce your ecological footprint. Tell us what you are doing, share and map your solutions on #MoveTheDate.
Here’s to New Zealand’s Earth Overshoot Day moving further out on the calendar!
Written by Annie Inwood from CVNZ Punakaiki