the blog posts

we need more earth

Earth Overshoot Day. Heard of it? I hadn't. Not until very recently. It is the day when, according to the Global Footprint Network, "humanity's annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year." 

This year, Earth Overshoot Day was 13 August. In 2000, it was during the month of October. It is a record you don't want to continue to break but, notwithstanding the Rio Earth Summit and the "sustainable development" vocabulary that is part of everyday life now, apparently we will. 

 source: global footprint network

source: global footprint network

The impact of this ecological overspend, as the Global Footprint Network terms it, is evident to anyone paying attention. Drought. Water shortages. Deforestation. Extreme weather events. As you can guess, humanity's carbon footprint is a significant part of the problem. The irreverent conclusion, therefore, is that we need more earth. China needs 2.7 Chinas. Japan needs 5.5 Japans. Greece needs 2.6 Greeces (as if the country didn't have enough problems already). In fact, we need 1.6 earths to support current collective ecological consumption. 

Where is Bermuda in this mix? I would imagine somewhere worse than Japan. Our ecological consumption is going to be higher than our domestic biocapacity - and I make that statement boldly without checking any facts or figures since we import just about everything, and consume much in the way of fossil fuels in the process.

Is change possible? Yes it is. If we, the 'global we' that is, can reduce our carbon emissions 30% by 2030, which is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report recommends (see previous blog post), we can push Earth Overshoot Day back to 16 September (Global Footprint Network press release).

While that's not balanced, it's better. We need better because there is no more earth.

is planning better for opponents?

I read with great interest Patrick Fox's Op-Ed piece in Planetizen entitled "Broken Planning: How Opponents Hijacked the Planning Process." It is one person's view of the American system but, nonetheless, some issues are transferable.

While there is a big hint of "Oh woe is me" developer-think throughout the article, Fox does highlight a certain dysfunction, if you will, in the planning system.  That is: how do you get a community to be energised in favour of development, either on the policy or project front? It is the bane of every Planning Department's existence that community outreach efforts seem only to excite the same ten people. According to Fox, those ten people will always be opposed to the development project.

 Social media does extend, and can enrich, the debate but, still, how do you get more than the usual ten to stand up and be counted? Let me know because I can't help but think the final product will be better for the community if more of the community engages in the process.