YESTERDAY (2nd August ) was Earth Overshoot Day for 2017. We have already used up the earth’s resources for the whole of the year – in the sense that we have used more than the earth can renew for the year.
“ This means that in seven months, we emitted more carbon than the oceans and forests can absorb in a year, we caught more fish, felled more trees, harvested more, and consumed more water than the Earth was able to produce in the same period.”
– from a statement by WWF / Global Footprint Network
It’s the earliest the day has fallen since they first started keeping track of it in 1986.
I find it a grim reminder of something I can easily become blasé about. I’ve always been keen on caring for the environment and of humans being good stewards of the earth, but it’s easy to slip into carelessness. To forget, in the micro moments that are the days of my life (such a fleeting thing).
Some habits I have fostered and they remain – I never leave the tap running while I clean my teeth, just rinsing the brush at the beginning and end – but others I can easily neglect, as I boil the kettle, forget I did so and then have to re-boil it – such a waste of precious energy.
That age-old argument always strays in – ‘how can the little I do make a difference?’ It applies to so many problems in our world, and we know at heart it is nonsense, because if we all stopped believing it, our many ‘littles’ would become ‘much’.
We are so used to convenience; we really don’t want to change our ways. It’s a damaging hybrid of apathy, hopelessness and idleness.
I’m reminded again that what I do matters. Even if no one steps up, I know that does not permit me to simply join their ranks at the back.
I understand at the micro level of my life what it means to overshoot my resources, as I struggle with CFS/ME. I understand the principle of ‘overdraft’, whereby what I use up now I simply won’t have later.
The trouble is, we neglect to care about the ‘later’.
But if this world has any kind of meaning for us – if we count it, and its inhabitants, as precious – we need to act like it.
From a Christian perspective our world is God-made. A notion that ‘oh things will all be made new eventually anyway’ as a reason to exploit the gift of this creation is appalling; for in our caring for our present earth, we witness to its maker.