How many planets do you need?
What size shoes do you wear? Not the ones on your feet, the ones that contribute to your global footprint. The easiest way to understand what your footprint refers to is to imagine how many planets we would need to support your current lifestyle. If everyone on the planet ate the same as you, wore the same clothing, drove the same car and flew to as many vacation destinations, would the planet be able to keep up? Maybe not.
In 2006, Andrew Simm’s of the New Economics Foundation coined the term, ‘Earth Overshoot Day’. “[It] marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint.” That year, we globally used up all our planetary resources by October. In 2017, France has exhausted nature’s budget for the year on May 5th, and the UK on May 8th. Not a good sign. To find out where your country’s overshoot day falls in 2018, visit The FootPrint Network.
Before reading any further, we suggest calculating your own footprint at www.footprintcalculator.org to figure out what your personal Earth Overshoot Day falls. It might surprise you! We often forget the habitual daily choices we make that contribute to our overall impact in ways we never imagined! Similarly, it’s encouraging to think about the drastic change we can have on the planet by investing some time and effort in adjusting our habits.
For many people, especially the adventurers by nature, tend to tip the delicate balance of their environmental impact by the amount of travel done every year. Wanderlust has washed over our generation, and no-one can argue against the beauty and learning that comes from travelling the world. Bringing an attitude of conservation to the places visited can limit the harm done to the planet by fuel emissions etc.
Finding small scale hotels or Air Bnbs to stay at can reduce your accommodation footprint by as much as 48% according to The Earth Overshoot Day Organization. Finding hotels fuel by renewable energy sources can sometimes be hard to find, so staying at smaller establishments can be useful in keeping the energy used to a minimum.
Refraining from taking unnecessary flights, especially when alternative forms of transport are available can make a huge dent in your yearly footprint! For some travellers, air travel can account for more than half of their yearly household carbon emissions. Many airlines offer the potential of purchasing carbon offsets, and though it won’t stop global warming by any means, it’s a valiant attempt at righting some of the wrong. The simplest example of a carbon offset program refers to paying a little extra for your ticket to plant and conserve trees. Most airlines will work alongside organizations lie The Nature Conservancy to fund first conservation programs. For seasoned travellers, upgrading to first class can be a treat. But before spending the extra money, don’t forget that economy class takes up to nine times less fuel than the spacious first class seats. Just as some cars are more fuel efficient than others, same goes for airplanes. Here are the findings for most fuel efficient transatlantic airlines in 2017.
If all the items we purchased had passports as we do, we might be surprised to find them filled! Where you purchase every single product from your groceries to your sneakers influence the number of flights, freights and automobiles transiting all over the globe. At Bluenery, we were torn when thinking of how to ship our products to our international Bluenery family. Testing with localized shipping only was our way to experiment how we might be able to collectively reduce our footprint.
Before even reaching you, most products have collected a significant transport footprint, with materials coming from the four corners of the planet. It’s up to brands to make efforts in sourcing local materials and producing as close to their customers as possible, and it’s up to consumers to support those brands by buying local as much as possible.
Social impact designer, Laura is working closely with Bluenery to give our family some strong environment awareness.
To find out where your country’s overshoot day falls in 2018, visit The FootPrint Network.