We’re running an ecological deficit on August 1

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by Dr. William J. Langenberg

Wednesday, August 1, is the Earth Overshoot Day, which means that humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate during this year. After August 1, we run an ecological deficit which may lead to astronomical ecological consequences in decades to come. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and not to forget to mention, the creation of megadumpls in ecological sensitive areas.

The Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international think tank that coordinates research and develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers (such as, our local politicians) with tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

Cutting trees extensively to expand residential and commercial areas in municipalities reduces the biocapacity that provides living space for food production and maintaining climate at reasonable levels.

For supply of ecological resources a municipality needs to maintain its biological productive land, including forest land, cropland, and fishing grounds. If they (the municipality) recklessly remove crop and forest land less biocapity becomes available for food production. Removing forest land and cropland increases the environmental pressure on our food supply and increases carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

For demand of ecological resources, which we call Ecological Footprint, we measure the demand for plant-based food production, fiber production, livestock production, timber and other forest products, and living space for urban infra-structure, such as green space.

Each municipality’ Ecological Footprint should be measured and compared to its biocapacity, which is to be able to provide the natural ecological resources and being able to absorb human waste. If the demand for ecological assets exceeds the supply, our municipality runs an ecological deficit. This year this deficit is reached on August 1.
Therefore it is important in a municipality such as ours to expand the areas for food production, such as starting a garden. That way we become less dependable on food supplies from other regions. Home gardening will help in reducing this ecological deficit. Remember we have only one earth and we are using presently 1.7 earths to survive. Every school needs to educate our children that we cannot continue living and depending on our supply system the way we are today. Produce is not produced in a grocery store. The production of produce is based on the earth’s biocapacity.

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