So, you’ve heard us tell you all about how being zerowaste, and reducing your plastic consumption is a surefire way of living sustainably. However, we’ve never really addressed what sustainability really is. So, if you want to know why we need to live the best possible way for the health of our only planet, you’re in the right place.
First Things First, Where Did the Idea of Sustainability Even Come From?
Well, it’s believed this started when the Global Footprint Network calculated the day the human population will overshoot the enviornment, naming it “Earth Overshoot Day”. For example, in 2019, the overshoot day will be on August 1st. This will be the day we use up all the natural resources of our planet that we should have used by Decemeber 31st. The earliest overshoot day was calculated in early 1970s and back then it was late September.
What Does This Really Mean?
It means that by this rate, we’ll need 1.5 Earths to sustain the entire human population. We are consuming way more of the nature resources than we should, and it’s using up our planet way faster than that can be sustained. From this the idea of living “Sustainably” was born.
The UN as of this year has officically warned us that if we continue consuming our resources with this rate and living like we do now, that in 12 short years the damage we’ve done would be irreversible. Pause reading right now and just think how fast the past 12 years of your life have passed by and how truly tragic this piece of information really is.
How Am I Consuming This Much?
The tricky part about convincing people how drastic the Earth Overshoot Day is really lies in the fact that most people don’t realise just how much they consume. When you buy imported vegetables for instance. You’re not just consuming those veggies. You’ve consumed the water it took to grow them, the energy it took to wrap and transport them to your local grocery store. You’re consuming the plastic they’re wrapped in, the water it takes to recycle that plastic (if it gets recycled at all) and the energy it takes the recycling plant to do its job.
If you apply this to every single thing you buy, eat or use, you’ll realise that even just using your car to go to work takes up way more than just a few kilometers of gas. But, it’s not hopeless or impossible to drastically reduce your consumption. You can do so by just bringing your awareness as to what areas of your life you can live more sustainably.
How Can One Person Make a Difference?
You might be thinking, okay that’s all well and good but I’m sure someone else will be the person to step up, my life is complicated enough as it is already. If each one said that its just “one straw” they’re using, then in that moment 7 billion straws would be used once and thrown away. You, yes you reading this right now are that someone that can change everything.
Because, it starts with one person trying to do one good thing that ends up inspiring their entire office/ home to do the same for our planet. That’s how just one person can make a world (pun intended) of a difference.
How Can I Know How Much Am I Consuming Now?
There is a test that you can take that will show you how many Earths we’d need if everyone on Earth lived like you. This is the best way you can start your journey to being sustainable, by getting to gribs with the truth of how much you truly consume. The test is by the Global Footprint Network, you can find it here.
After you’ve taken the test, send this article to someone you know cares about our planet and another friend/family member whom you believe needs to read it. Join forces and talk about how you can live more sustainably and let us know how it goes. The literal future of our planet depends on it. Earth depends on you.