What do the dates 29 July 2019 and 22 August 2020 have in common?
These two dates are the Earth Overshoot Days for 2019 and 2020 respectively. Earth Overshoot Day is when humanity’s consumption exceeds the Earth’s capacity to regenerate the resources needed to sustain life on the planet.
In 2019, it only took us 7 months to use up all of the resources we were supposed to have. In 2020, the lessened production caused by the coronavirus pandemic only managed to push back that date some weeks. In money terms: in 2019, we already used up all our annual budget by July and in 2020, by August.
Can you grasp the implications of that? Can you imagine living a life where you’ve already used up all your budget for the year come July or August? It’s simply not sustainable and your quality of life and well-being will suffer.
So why are we doing that with our planet?
It’s because we don’t really see the consequences of our “overspending” up until we experience it in the forms of disasters — both natural and man-made. Every year, recorded highest temperatures are going up and recorded the lowest temperatures are going down. Countries susceptible to typhoons, storms, and hurricanes are experiencing stronger and stronger winds and rainfall. Countries like the United States and Australia are experiencing wildfires that are stronger and harder to tame — killing both wildlife and people, and destroying resources.
When you look at those things as the result of the unabashed depletion of our planet’s resources, can these consequences still go unseen? Sadly, it took a global pandemic for us to finally slow down our consumption. And people everywhere agree that lockdown is not a state we want to live in longer than strictly necessary.
This is what makes our pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals important. If we achieve our SDGs we will bring our consumption back to levels that are more sustainable. The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals will help future-proof our life on this planet. These are the goals we need to achieve if we want to leave this planet a better place for future generations to enjoy and live in.
The reality is that not everyone is entirely familiar with these 17 Goals. So I thought of looking for a solution to this problem and took the same approach I did when trying to address the root causes of pay gaps. I realized that if we’re learning about the SDGs only as adults, then we are simply missing a decade or two of opportunity! It’s easier to start teaching kids good habits for a sustainable future while they are very young, as opposed to trying to teach them to unlearn bad habits when they are older.
This is why I think that education on Sustainable Development Goals and caring for the planet should start in early childhood. We should inculcate good practices and habits as children grow up, so these become the standards they adhere to and uphold when they themselves will be adults.
My deepest hope is that small children today will no longer need to worry about World Overshoot Day by the time they grow up. If we succeed in our endeavours to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the will be the generation of guardians of sustainable life on earth.
Right now, this seems like a tall order. But imagine if we all make this extra effort today, to create a domino effect of positivity, of sharing and caring for the planet and for fellow humans — from our generation to our kids, to their kids and so on. If we all work together to educate ourselves and the next generation on how to become responsible stewards of the planet it’s entirely possible.
Remember, your everyday, small steps matter! So help us take a small step together by sharing A Smart Way To Do Good with your children, your grandchildren or any other children you know. Let’s set up our kids for success and help them grow into wise global citizens, empowered to shape a better future for themselves and for our planet.
Let’s teach them the principles of sustainability so they can be agents of positive change for the planet.
Join us in spreading the word!