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Letter: Not exactly a red-letter day

An empty sits on the ground in this file photo.
An empty sits on the ground in this file photo.

“Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) this year is August 2nd. By then we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in a whole year. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate though our overfishing, overharvesting forests and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester.” 

This information is found on the Earth Overshoot Day website.  EOD is calculated by dividing the world’s biocapacity (the amount of natural resources generated by the Earth each year) by the world’s ecological footprint (humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources for that year), and multiply by 365.

The time of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by Global Footprint Network. Up to 1986, the Earth’s resources exceeded or met human needs, but consumption has increased annually since the Industrial Revolution.

Since 1986, our consumption of natural resources has exceeded the resources available each year. The first EOD was  Dec. 19, 1987. The date when consumption becomes unsustainable is coming earlier every year. For the remainder of 2017, we will be living on resources borrowed from future generations.

Our treatment of the Earth amounts to violence. The violence may be a direct attack or it may be neglect or indifference. Benedictine monk Benoît Standaert warns us that we are plundering the biosphere, gorging it, devouring it. Two obvious symbols of our exploitation are the car and the plastic bag, one representing carbon emissions and the other, pollution.

One of the most striking images of our violence is Henderson Island, located in the Pacific Ocean, 3,000 miles from any major population centre but having the highest density of plastic waste reported anywhere in the world. It has a staggering 38 million pieces of trash, most of it coming from Asia and South America.

While there are those who deny human responsibility for what is going on, even those of us who want to make a difference seem unwilling to make the sacrifice required. Unless we make a drastic change in lifestyle, our recycling, reusing, reducing will not cut it.  It needs to be on our agenda all the time and we must never stop protesting and urging government and industry to cut back. As Desmond Tutu declares, “If we are neutral in situations of injustice, we have chosen the side of the oppressor.”


Everett Hobbs
Conception Bay South  

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