Friday, 7 October 2016

What is this? A world for ants?

By Ryan Pearson

To quote the ever-intelligent Derek Zoolander, it seems that this world needs to be at least 'three times bigger'. We simply have too many people that are consuming (and throwing away) too much stuff for the resources we have available.

Earth Overshoot Day is the day each year when we humans have used up all of the resources that the Earth can provide for that year. Here's the catch, this year it was on August 8th which is only day number 221 out of 366 for this year (or about 60% of the way through the year). That's right, we used 100% of the available resources in 60% of the time available. You know what happens what you use 100% of your mobile data in 60% of the billing cycle? You either go without for 40% of the time or you pay through the teeth for extra data.

Same goes for the Earth's resources. At some point, people will start having to go without and/or paying much more. Either way, the poorest people start losing first.

Feel bad yet? Here's my list of three simple changes that you can make in your life to help the world be a healthier, more stable and hospitable place for yourself and generations to come.

1. Buy less new shit.
If you need more stuff (which you probably actually don't as often as you think you do), try buying second hand. Go to the op shop (thrift store for you 'mercans), ask for hand-me-downs from friends and family, or hey... even fix what you already have and reuse (or repurpose) it.

2. Eat less (especially flesh)
Start by eating smaller portions. There are huge numbers of overweight people in most western countries, so start by eating less per meal. Then think about cutting down on the foods that represent the worst resource strains. Unfortunately for omnivore's (non-vego's) like me, meat products are one of the biggest strains on resources and contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. I love a good meaty meal, but I've still taken steps to reduce the amount I'm eating, and I feel better for it. So, if you don't want to go 'full vegan' start by trying meat-free Monday's or meat substitutes in some meals. You'd be surprised how much a vegan burger or faux-BBQ pork stirfry tastes like the real thing these days. Go on, try it.

3. Say no to single-use items
Start with drinking straws. Apart from use by people with severe disabilities (including broken jaws) and small children, straws have no real value in our lives. Go on, try drinking out of a cup or bottle without a straw... did you die? Coz the (not so) funny thing is, that if you do use a straw, and it ends up somewhere it's not supposed to, some poor animal probably will die because of it. It's simple, say no, you really don't need one. But also, carry a reusable water bottle and fill it from the tap, get your orange mocha frappuccino in a keep-cup, dine-in (or at home) more than takeaway and cut down on food packaging, say no to pointless single-use bags (plastic or otherwise - e.g. if you only have one or two items, you're perfectly capable of carrying them without needing a single-use bag).

There's plenty more I could suggest, but you probably won't read it because this is already bigger than the bite-size most people consume on the internet these days, and I just told you to have smaller portions (<-- see what I did there?). Gotta start somewhere.

IF you do want more... check out Turtle's Bite for a heap of practical ideas on how you can reduce your resource footprint, have fun, and improve your own and your planets health.

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