Crossing Earth Overshoot Day 2016

By Drs. Robert & Sonia Vogl
President and Vice President,
Illinois Renewable Energy Association

Earth Overshoot Day came and went again this year. No fanfare, no celebration, no parades. Just as silently as extinction, it came and went. Most people didn’t notice; many didn’t care.

Noting and celebrating the day itself is not important. What is important is understanding what it means and working to counter it.

This year, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 8. That means that between January 1 and August 8, humanity has already used all of the resources that the earth provides during an entire year. For over four months we will be again dipping into future resources, causing a mounting ecological debt.

Throughout history and into the 1960s, humans used about three-quarters of the earth’s capacity to both produce and absorb, leaving enough to serve future years. During the 1970s, resources were used at a rate that exceeded the Earth’s productive capacity and waste products were produced at a rate that exceeded Earth’s capacity to process.

We will place Earth Overshoot within the context of the IREA Fair in next week’s column.

Major sponsors of the Fair are the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, The Rock River Times, Northern Public Radio and the Ogle County Waste Management Department.  Times and the Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department.

Note: Passages from the Vogls’ 2015 column were used in this piece.

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