Just as “tax “day” arrives later each year, the opposite is true with Earth Overshoot Day. According to the people that calculate and track this stuff, “in 8 Months, Humanity Exhausted Earth’s Budget for the Year”. Not only that but over time, the Overshoot Day has been arriving earlier according to the Global Footprint Network (GFN).
Before giving them too much credit or benefit of the doubt, I looked through their roster of advisers and found a SoCal connection in the form of Eric Garcetti. Doing a little checking we found that yes indeed this is the same Eric Garcetti who was one of the sponsors for a bike rack design contest in the City of Angels back in 2009, so we have a cycling connection too! (LA was recently voted as #32 out of 50 cycle friendly cities).
According to the GFN, Earth Overshoot Day is the annual marker of when we begin living beyond our means in a given year. In a nutshell, overshoot means turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources.
That’s something to think about when the County is changing the General Plan relating to Santiago and Silverado Canyon (proposed development of +4000 homes), and the State is considering changing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Business interests are calling to exempt from CEQA projects that comply with a city general plan or other planning document for which an environmental review already has been done. This makes sense on the surface, as it cuts the expense of environmental review by half, and also reduces the “time to market”. Is it coincidence that all this comes about as +20,000 anticipated new homes are built in the last open space areas in the county? Will these new communities be net neutral in their demand upon local and County resources, or will they accelerate an earlier arrival of Overshoot Day?
Where we learn that (apparently) if we all would only live as people in India do, the planet would be better off, whereas if the world lived as people in the USA do, we would need an additional 3.16 planet’s worth of resources per year.
According to the GFN Overshoot Day was Oct 21 in 1992. In 2002, the date moved forward to Oct. 3, and now in 2012 the date is Aug. 22. Shall we guess for next year’s date at Aug. 4th?
At this point I’d like to remind the GFN that it is the USA who is on the moon and Mars,
and will soon be offering flights into space on private “rokjet” flights so people will have a greater appreciation for the “Blue Marble” we call home. Knowledge gained from these efforts are directly translatable into new discoveries and inventions to improve the quality of life for everyone.
We’re all for sustainable development and look forward to developers models showcasing the latest in carbon footprint reduction methods, in house water recycling, grey water treatments, wind and solar power to power the communities, and separated bike lanes connecting all the communities to transportation hubs, employment areas, schools, and centers of commerce.