Overshoot Day

By Thomas Sheffield

I just love a good steak.  I really love a good burger.  I am definitely a carnevor.  I could go to a cookout and just eat all meat.  No veggies, just meat.  Pork, chicken, turkey, and yes, a good steak.  Don’t waste my time with a veggie or cheese pizza.  What is the point of paying money for pizza without meat?  I could just make a grilled cheese sandwich instead of paying $10 on a cheese pizza.  This is the way of thinking, my wife, my doctor and my family have been trying to get me to change.  We don’t need meat with every meal.  I dare say, we will be better off cutting way back on our meat consumption for far more than medical reasons.  I do not believe I am the only one to think this way.  We must change our ways of thinking so we can save the planet.  Here is why:

Earth Overshoot Day is the point of a year, where we have collectively blown through the amount of food, timber, fiber and carbon that the planet can renew or manage in a year.  It is a way to tell how badly we are stressing the planets natural resources and if we are living in a sustainable way.    In 1999, Earth Overshoot day was September 29.  Almost 50 years ago, in 1970, it was on December 29th and this year, it is on July 29.  Efforts are being made to push that date back.

In order to do this, we will have to change the way we think.  Nobody will do this for you.  It will not be easy but in order to leave this planet better than it was when we got here, we will need to work together. 

Here are three of the best ways we can push the date back.  First and perhaps the hardest of all is to change our behavior.  Personal transportation accounts for roughly 17% of the worlds carbon footprint.  If we cut the amount we drove our combustion engine cars by half and walking, biking or using public transportation, it would push us back 11.5 days.  Secondly, if we used current technology to power our infrastructure with renewable energy, it would move the Overshoot Day back by 21 days.  And finally, you guessed it, we would need to change our eating habits.  

If we ate 50% less meat, we could move the date back 15 days.  We could eat more plant based diets and we could also work to reduce food waste.  This means less cookouts, less all-meat-pic nicks, and I will have to try more cheese pizzas. The Earth is the only planet we know of in which we can live.  If we don’t find ways to push the overshoot date back, our children will not have a bright future.   I am willing to sacrifice for our planet, are you?  

Feel free to contact me directly at thomsustainableconsulting@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter @tcsheff.

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