National overshoot day chart (Global Footprint Network photo)

Editorial: We’re overshooting our capacity at a greater rate than ever

July 29 earliest Earth overshoot day in history, Canada’s overshoot day is even earlier

Monday, July 29, marked the earliest ever Earth overshoot day in history.

Overshoot day marks the day that humanity uses more resources than the earth can renew in a year. This is tracked by Global Footprint Network, an organization dedicated to measuring global environmental footprints, and providing decision makers with policy alternatives.

While the global overshoot day was July 29, Canada’s overshoot day was March 18, 2019. This makes Canada the sixth earliest national overshoot day behind America, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Luxembourg, and Qatar. If the world lived like Canada, then humanity would consume the earth’s annual resources by the third month of the year.

In response to this, the Global Footprint Network has launched a social media campaign, #MoveTheDate, to promote awareness and affect change around the world that will push overshoot day back further and further until human consumption is sustainable.

Canadians, as a whole, are concerned with climate change. According to a CBC News poll, 19 percent of Canadians listed climate change as the issue they worried the most about. The primary issue is the cost of living, which was listed at 32 percent. This leaves a situation where people are passionate about fighting climate change, and worried about the impacts of it, but are unwilling to shell out tax money to fight the issue.

There is a disconnect between Canadian ideals around climate change, and Canadian action around climate change. The federal government recently bought the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion, a move that will almost certainly put Canada’s Paris Accord climate targets out of reach.

Reports also indicate that the Liberal government may even fall short of emissions targets set by the Harper government. According to a chart by Barry Saxifrage at visualcarbon.org, it will take Canada 215 years to reach their 2030 Paris target at current pace, and nearly a thousand years to reach the 2050 target.

If Canada is serious about being a global climate leader, meeting their Paris Accord targets, and committing to #MoveTheDate, there needs to be a major change in all aspects of Canadian society. Otherwise, Canada will continue to overshoot for several generations to come.

For more information on overshoot day, visit overshootday.org

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