Today, the 2nd of August of 2017, is Earth Overshoot Day.
What does this mean?
“By August 2, 2017, we will have used more from Nature than our planet can renew in the whole year” quote from phys.org
We are now past the point where for the rest of the year we are simply destroying the planet’s ecology. The Earth is no longer capable of sustaining the lifestyle of 7.5 billion Humans.
Why should you be sad about this?
In 1987, when the EOD was first calculated, we reached a deficit on December 19.
|Year||Overshoot Date||Year||Overshoot Date|
|1987||December 19||2010||August 21|
|1990||December 7||2011||August 27|
|1995||November 21||2012||August 22|
|2000||November 1||2013||August 20|
|2005||October 20||2014||August 19|
|2007||October 26||2015||August 13|
|2008||September 23||2016||August 8|
|2009||September 25||2017||August 2|
We are now hitting a deficit in August, meaning we are causing irreversible damage to our ecology at an ever accelerating rate.
There’s plenty of evidence to support Human driven climate change and NASA has confirmed with verifiable data how we have affected our home planet.
Just in the last century we have seen:
- sea level rise by 8 inches
- average air temperatures have increased
- warmest day of the year records being broken
- warming of the oceans
- thinning of ice sheets
- reduction in Arctic sea ice
- glaciers are shrinking
- abnormal weather events
- alarming rate of coral bleaching as a result of ocean acidification
Not to mention we can measure with accuracy how much CO2 Humans are pumping into the atmosphere as a result of the industrial revolution and the rate keeps accelerating.
People, …. We need to go back to simpler things!
A big part of the Tiny House movement that Heading Tiny is hoping to inspire, includes a massive reduction in our carbon footprint with self-sustainability being an achievable goal. Sure, it also tackles the problem of exorbitant rent and housing costs. But there’s so much more to this…
If you understand anything about electricity you know that its generation in power plants is surprisingly inefficient. We mostly rely on coal, petroleum, natural gas, and nuclear energy to generate electricity, and on average 65% of the energy is wasted in the form of heat or mechanical losses.
When it comes to transporting all those moving electrons, even the best cables have resistance and we waste even more energy there. It is estimated that in 2013, the United States lost 22 quadrillion Btu’s from electricity generation alone, meaning all the cars could’ve been powered by this loss for the entire year. The loss from transporting all that electricity reached 69 trillion Btu’s, which is equal to what 300 million Americans use to dry their clothes every year.
By the way, most cars are less than 30% efficient meaning a good 70% of fuel energy is wasted as heat, noise, and mechanical friction.
Today, you can power a tiny house with as little as 1000 Watts of solar power which can be achieved from just 4 solar panels. Sure, this depends on where you live and how much sunlight you get. But by using the correct appliances for a 12 volt system you don’t need an array of 16 solar panels like you can see on many large houses.
I’m deliberately simplifying this issue and many will argue that you need more power. You really don’t.
Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer. My laptop uses a power supply of 130 Watts and will play the most recent games at a good frame rate. (Titanfall 2 at 100+ frames per second being a good example.) For contrast, my desktop computer used a 750 Watt power supply unit and idled at 316 Watts.
How about hot water? Those who have used a solar shower will quickly tell you they get quite hot in just 20 minutes. If you use a clever system of pipes, you can rely on the Sun to heat your water for free. And if you were clever enough to move that warm water into a fully insulated boiler cylinder you’ll have hot water all night, or potentially use it to heat your house.
What about heating? There’s plenty of heat available from wood or propane, and tiny houses are easy to keep warm.
We could be doing so much more to preserve our planet while improving our quality of life. The question is, can we silence the forces and influences coming from energy companies and their political influences?
In 1980, through is amazing ‘Cosmos’ TV Series, Carl Sagan warned us about how we could turn our planet into Venus. Just a quick reminder:
- Mercury, distance to Sun 58 million kilometres, temperature 426 degrees Celsius
- Venus, distance to Sun 108 million kilometres, temperature over 460 degrees Celsius even at the poles thanks to runway greenhouse effect caused by its CO2 atmosphere
Shall I put this another way? Do we want to keep giving away huge chunks of our money, when there is a way we can keep it in our pockets AND reduce our carbon footprint at the same time?