Choosing wisely

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“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it,” says traveller and polar explorer Robert Swan, the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Pole.

August 1 is Earth Overshoot Day 2018 according to the Global Footprint Network. It marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb. Humanity is currently using nature 1.7 times faster than ecosystems can regenerate. We are using 1.7 Earths when we only have 1!

The huge costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident around the world in the form of deforestation, fresh-water scarcity, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to climate change and more severe droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes.

Earth Overshoot Day has moved from late September in 1997 to August 1st this year. By 2030, the Global Footprint Network expects the day to arrive in June if our consumption trends don’t change. There is no indication that they will and all consumption trends are on the rise.

Earth Overshoot Day

So please STOP for a moment and reflect on what this will mean for us and future generations. 2030 is less than 12 years away …

“Our current economies are running a Ponzi scheme with our planet,” said Mathis Wackernagel, CEO and co-founder of Global Footprint Network. “We are borrowing the Earth’s future resources to operate our economies in the present. Like any Ponzi scheme, this works for some time. But as nations, companies, or households dig themselves deeper and deeper into debt, they eventually fall apart. Overusing Earth’s ecosystems is one of the largest challenges facing humanity today, with climate change being a big portion of that challenge. Thriving lives within the means of our planet. It is not out of reach and plenty of solutions exist today.”

A country can still buy resources by importing from others, but our planet does not have that option. Earth Overshoot Day is most concerned with the resources that are a critical part of our lives – air, water and plants. Every year, the day reminds us of how much our consumption is central to our planet’s sustainability and our own.

There are moments in our lives when we find ourselves at a crossroad and we have to make important choices. It is then that I learned that it’s easier to choose wisely when we know what our values are.

I founded itmustbenow.com on Earth Day 2017 with my husband Onno Poortier, a legacy project with a mission to boldly advance sustainability, social responsibility and principled business practice in the travel industry. It is our urgent response to boldly grow a global community of like-minded people who believe that travellers and the travel industry must be a Force for Good. We are galvanizing inspiring and responsible hotels, resorts and lodges to join the NOW Force for Good Alliance so you can find, track and book them direct. Tell your favorite hotel to step up and join us, and be a part of an inspiring shift to create joy around being healthy and sustaining the planet, giving back and being part of a community that care about each other.

We launched the NOW Track & Book, a bold new tool that raises the bar on accountability and transparency around sustainability with no greenwash allowed. It’s a new resource for travellers to make smarter choices on where to go and who to stay with.

Our window of opportunity to make a difference still exist but it is getting smaller. Each of us are at a crossroad near the edge of a cliff and we have two choices … to be part of the problem … OR to be part of the solution to build resilience so we can thrive.

The solution is called sustainability and it requires a huge shift in attitude and behavior from everyone. Many companies are still sitting on the fence or greenwashing. Solving environmental and social problems are not just for government and businesses anymore, it belongs in our homes and our spending power gives us a choice. Choosing wisely to be part of the solution will differentiate us and test our integrity and values. And it will define our legacy as a person, a parent, a leader and a human being.

It must be NOW!

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Alexa Poortier

Founder – itmustbeNOW.com

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