Humanity exhausted earth’s budget for the year 2012 in 8 months
22 August Earth Overshoot Day 2012, marks the date when humanity exhausted nature’s budget for this year. We are now operating in overdraft. For the rest of the year, we will maintain our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures humanity’s demand for and supply of natural resources and ecological services. And the data is sobering. Global Footprint Network estimates that in approximately 8 months, we demanded more renewable resources and C02 sequestration than what the planet can provide for an entire year.

In 1992, Earth Overshoot Day—the approximate date our resource consumption for a given year exceeds the planet’s ability to replenish—fell on October 21. In 2002, Overshoot Day was on October 3. Given current trends in consumption, one thing is clear: Earth Overshoot Day tends to arrive a few days earlier each year.
Earth Overshoot Day, a concept originally developed by Global Footprint Network partner and U.K. think tank new new economics foundation, is the annual marker of when we begin living beyond our means in a given year. While only a rough estimate of time and resource trends, Earth Overshoot Day is as close as science can be to measuring the gap between our demand for ecological resources and services and how much Earth can provide.

The Cost of Ecological Overspending
Throughout most of history, humanity has used nature’s resources to build cities and roads, to provide food and create products, and to absorb our carbon dioxide at a rate that was well within Earth’s budget. But in the mid-1970’s, we crossed a critical threshold: Human consumption began outstripping what the planet could reproduce.
According to Global Footprint Network’s calculations, our demand for renewable ecological resources and the services they provide is now equivalent to more than 1.5 Earths. The data shows us on track to require the resources of two planets well before mid-century.

The fact that we are using, or “spending,” our natural capital faster than it can replenish is similar to having expenditures that continuously exceed income. In planetary terms, the costs of our ecological overspending are becoming more evident by the day. Climate change—a result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans—is the most obvious and arguably pressing result. But there are others—shrinking forests, species loss, fisheries collapse, higher commodity prices and civil unrest, to name a few. The environmental and financial crises we are experiencing are symptoms of looming catastrophe. Humanity is simply using more than what the planet can provide.

Earth Overshoot Day is an estimate, not an exact date. It’s not possible to determine with 100 percent accuracy the day we bust our ecological budget. Adjustments of the date that we go into overshoot are due to revised calculations, not ecological advances on the part of humanity. The when is less important than the what.
Click here to learn more about Earth Overshoot Day, and how it has changed over time. © 2003-2012 Global Footprint Network (Last updated on: 9/10/2012)

UNDERMINED OR OVERBURDENED? Victoria’s brown coal: an economic perspective – EV Report

A report by Environment Victoria examining the economics of new brown coal projects, with a focus on exports.

AUSTRALIA’S SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD GUIDE produced by Society (AMCS) is available online at, or you can download the free app to your iPhone. The guide is also available from most local libraries. And you can request a free mini guide for your wallet from

For more information on sustainable seafood, ocean health and what you can do, visit

BIG OIL THREATENS THE SPIRIT BEAR COASTWill this be the end of the spirit bear? – Video
The Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline, proposed by energy giant Enbridge, would transport the world’s dirtiest oil from the Alberta tar sands to British Columbia’s Spirit Bear Coast. Watch the video, narrated by actor Kevin Bacon, to see the spectacular and imperiled home of the world’s last spirit bears.

THE IUCN RED LIST OF SPECIES AT RISK OF EXTINCTION  is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species. At the recent global conference at which 70 environment ministers met, more than 400 plants and animals were added to the list.

All of us need to breathe, drink and eat. These are all benefits that are fundamentally provided by biodiversity. Biodiversity collectively describes the vast array of approximately 9 million unique living organisms (including Homo sapiens) that inhabit the earth, together with the interactions amongst them. The concept includes every species of bacteria, virus, plant, fungi, and animal, as well as the diversity of genetic material within each species. It also encompasses the diverse ecosystems the species make up and the ongoing evolutionary processes that keep them functioning and adapting. Find out why we can’t get by without it, why biodiversity is in decline, and what we can do about it.

BIOSECURITY BILL 2012 – protecting Australia from invasive species - Submissions closing 24 October
Soon one of Australia’s most important environmental laws, Biosecurity Bill 2012, will be introduced into Parliament, but important changes are needed to ensure it protects our natural world from invasive species.  Submissions are due by Wednesday, October 24, so make sure you have your say, much is at stake. A website for submissions on the ISC website – and on that page you will also find a print friendly submission guide –

INTERACTIVE MAP OF GLOBAL CLIMATE ACTIONa little less conversation, a little more action

The Climate Institute has developed the Climate Action Map to provide an overview of action taking place around the world.

From curtains to LCD monitors, taking showers to making toast, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA)’s new guide examines ways to save money and improve energy efficiency around the home. Learn how to reduce your home’s energy use without the need for major spending on appliances or home renovations.
The Guide to reducing your energy use and saving money is available now as a PDF.

VICROADS SURVEY ON CYCLING IN MELBOURNE online survey (takes 20-30 minutes to complete)
Even if you only ride once a year VicRoads would like to hear from  you.  This survey is about your cycling travel and particularly about how you perceive different types of cycling facilities such as shared paths, cycleways and on-road bicycle lanes. The information you provide in this survey will be used by VicRoads to inform the development of policies and guidelines and ultimately target investment towards areas that will make cycling a safer, more comfortable and enjoyable experience.


This week we’ve had confirmation of what we always knew – the more water that’s returned to stressed rivers, the better the environmental outcomes! Federal Water Minister Tony Burke has released new modelling for the Murray-Darling Basin that shows exactly that, and that removing physical obstacles to delivering that extra water improves the outcomes even more… Makes sense!  Unfortunately the Victorian government doesn’t see it that way. They’ve rejected the findings and said they don’t think delivering more water to create better environmental outcomes is worthwhile. We know that returning the Murray to health and preserving it for the community and future generations is important to Victorians. So let’s make sure that Tony Burke knows that the Victorian people do value a healthy river.  We will forward a copy to Victorian Water Minister Peter Walsh to let him know that Victorians want to Save the Murray.


The monitor measures the global impact of climate change and the carbon economy at a national level. It calculates and compares the vulnerability for 184 countries in four areas of impact (environmental disasters, habitat change, health impact and industry stress) using 34 climate and carbon related indicators. The monitor uses five levels of vulnerability, from acute to low, to compare and contrast nations. “Climate Vulnerability Monitor 2nd Edition – a guide to the cold calculus for a hot planet” reveals that climate change has already held back global development and inaction is a leading global cause of death. Harm is most acute for poor and vulnerable groups but no country is spared either the costs of inaction or the benefits of an alternative path. Commissioned by the world’s most vulnerable countries and backed by high-level and technical panels, the new Monitor estimates human and economic impacts of climate change and the carbon economy for 184 countries in 2010 and 2030, across 34 indicators.


Doing It Ourselves – aims to broaden understanding of the debt crisis and peak resources and encourage action for the sake of personal preparedness, happiness and ethical living. This animation sums up the key challenges facing our global society of credit crisis and resource scarcity and describes a path we can take to a happier, more sustainable life, now and in the future!

The campaign against the coal power station compensation under the carbon price has grown out of the government abandoning their commitment to contracts-for-closure – if the government can’t afford to close these power stations, they certainly shouldn’t be paying them to stay open. Further, it appears that the only reason Playford in SA and Energy Brix in Victoria are still open is so that they can continue to be eligible for compensation. The gov’t would be aware that dumping contacts for closure was a significant backtrack, and the pressure we’ve created is already biting. Even if the government refuses to withdraw the compensation we believe that pressure on this issue could open the door for something else instead – for example some other large fossil fuel subsidy to be withdrawn (or some other policy ask). The government has some serious budgetary pressure at the moment so if ever there was a chance to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies it’s now.
Pleas sign the petition:

Another common argument is that climate is always changing, that Earth has had higher levels of CO2 in the past… and was much warmer. Richard Alley in the National Ice Core Lab in Denver CO, shows the hard (and very cold!) evidence that today’s levels of CO2 are unlike anything seen in the whole of human civilization, for much more than 400,000 years. And, by the way, when Earth was much, much hotter it was fine for dinosaurs. We might not like it quite so much.

The carbon pricing mechanism, which is part of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future legislative package, came into force on 1 July 2012. The scheme aims to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution, and in turn avoid the worst effects of climate change. The Government predicts that under the scheme Australia will cut at least 159 million tonnes per year of carbon pollution by 2020. Analysis by Climate Works Australia shows that the Clean Energy Future package has the potential to see Australia three-quarters of the way towards achieving its agreed minimum emissions reduction target of 5 per cent below 2000 levels by 2020, using existing technologies alone. More:

In order to feed our world without destroying it, an holistic type of agriculture is needed, and we have a choice. Here we compare the current high-input industrial system with a renewed vision for agriculture: the agroecolocial system. Agroecological strategies can better feed the world, fight climate change and poverty, and protect soil and water while maintaining healthy, liveable communities and local economies. Industrial agriculture contributes to climate change, malnutrition and ecosystem degradation around the planet. It has not delivered on its promise to feed the world.

Any organisation working with CaLD communities might be interested in the EV project: Multicultural Climate Action program. EV has also produced two factsheets about smart energy use in the home and renewable energy in Australia and we’re translating them into 11 languages. We hope to reach 50,000 multicultural Victorians with our translations and have produced them with multicultural and faith communities in mind.
The factsheets are available in: Italian, Greek, Chinese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Arabic, Arabic Sudanese, Punjabi, Burmese, Turkish, Karen Download them here

NEXT GENERATION OF WORLD LEADERS THINK TANK ON CLIMATE CHANGE – applications invited from young people aged 18-28 years old to represent their country at the Think Tank which will be held alongside the United Nations Framework of Cooperation on Climate Change, COP 19 in November 2013.
Applicants must
* have access to, and be able to use a computer
* have resided in the country they are nominating on behalf of, for more than 10 years
* have or be able to obtain a passport
* be between 18 -25 years of age
* be capable of communicating in English
Applicants should also possess
* a strong personal interest in Climate Change
* a desire to one day take-up a leadership position within their community
* a good knowledge of how to operate blogs & social networks
Further info about the event and application guidelines:

Some seem to think that the heat-trapping properties of carbon dioxide are exaggerated or are just a scientific phenomenon. But after World War 2 it was the US Air Force that studied CO2 most carefully: its heat-trapping properties could interfere with heat-seeking missiles. As the video says, “the atmosphere doesn’t care whether you study it for warring, or warming. Adding CO2 turns up the planet’s thermostat.”

Two weeks ago the Gillard Government abandoned their commitment to close up to 2000MW of Australia’s dirtiest power stations. Without that commitment power stations like Hazelwood will keep polluting indefinitely. What’s worse is that the government is actually paying these same coal-fired power stations to keep polluting, with ‘compensation’ worth $5.5 billion. Sign this petition calling on key decision makers to withdraw the $5.5 billion in compensation to brown coal-fired power stations – money that is keeping them open rather than shutting them down. The compensation isn’t just propping up the bottom line of coal-fired power stations – it’s actually the only reason some of them are still polluting. It appears that power stations like Playford in South Australia and EnergyBrix here in Victoria are only staying open so that they remain eligible for millions of dollars worth of compensation next year. Much of the time these power stations aren’t even providing electricity to the grid, yet our taxpayer dollars will keep them open, operating and polluting for at least part of the year. Tell the government that you don’t want government funds spent keeping coal-fired power stations open


The Climate Commission’s third major report and follows a series of reports on the science and impacts of climate change and the opportunities in Australia associated with taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Australia is one of the proverbial canaries in the coalmine of the climate crisis, and scientists long warned that this might well become the case. But just as that canary once warned of toxic gas build-up in coal mines, Australia today is one of the places that is serving as an early alert signal for the planet as a whole.” Al Gore

“Earth’s Climate Changes Gradually… We Can Easily Adapt.” Maybe, maybe not… sometimes climate goes over the edge, and quickly. Richard Alley describes the 10 degrees C jump in temperature seen in the ice core record as like “bungee jumping off the climate roller coaster” which we see him do, in person in New Zealand, and in computer graphics. Perhaps we’d better take out some insurance.

NEW REPORT ON CLIMATE FINANCING IN THE PACIFIC launched on 31 Aug 2012 at the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, by Oxfam New Zealand, the UK government and a panel of government representatives from PNG, Tonga and Vanuatu.
Recent global climate negotiations have seen pledges of climate financing by developed nations of US$100 billion a year by 2020. Australia and New Zealand will need a tenfold increase of their current climate financing in less than a decade, to meet their fair share of this global commitment.
While accessing this climate finance poses major challenges for Pacific countries, there is also a need for greater accountability and transparency to ensure the resources reach those vulnerable communities most in need. This report presents case studies from three countries – Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Tonga – where action is underway to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, but more information and financial resources are needed to support those communities on the frontline of the climate emergency.

Richard Alley describes how 19th C. Americans burned through forests and then moved on to hunt all the nearby whales close to extinction – “we burned the whales to light the evenings!” What happens if we burn through all the coal and oil, and – especially – America’s new fuel: shale gas.

An amazing range of info on climate change science, research, impacts, opportunities, etc, etc

HOT PLANET (BBC documentary (59.22 mins) offers an accurate visual prediction of the planet’s future, based on the findings of over 4,000 climate scientists. Made in 2011 the documentary takes a look at global warming, exploring the world’s leading climate scientists’ vision of the planet’s future.
Scientists predict that if global temperatures continue to rise at their current rate, Earth will be one degree warmer within 10 years, two degrees warmer within the next 40 years and three degrees or more warmer before the end of the century. If the Earth’s temperature increases to three degrees warmer than the average pre-industrial temperature, the impact on the planet will be catastrophic. Across the Earth, ways of life could be lost forever as climate change accelerates out of control. This isn’t inevitable, however: climate change is not yet irreversible. Ingenious technology and science is currently being devised, advanced and tested around the world which could offer solutions for a sustainable future. The question that remains is, can the world embrace and implement them on a large enough scale within an effective timeline? If widespread damage to human societies and ecosystems is to be prevented, global temperature rise must be slowed and eventually reversed.


It is true that Earth’s a massive jigsaw puzzle, with lots of pieces intricately fitting together. But, Richard Alley argues, we already know enough to see the Big Picture. The missing pieces of scientific understanding – exactly how clouds work, how extreme weather will change with global warming – are important, but we can already see how Earth works.

From curtains to LCD monitors, taking showers to making toast, the Alternative Technology Association’s new guide examines all the ways to save money and improve energy efficiency around the home. This booklet is designed to help low-income households reduce their home’s energy use without the need for big spending on appliances or home renovations. Many actions can be done at zero or low cost, or through small changes in behaviour. To make it easier, we have tips for each room of the house. These range from the simplest tweaks, to improvements that may require permission from your landlord if you are in a rental property. Click here to download. The guide was developed by the ATA and the VCOSS. To order multiple copies email

HOW TO TALK TO AN OSTRICH: “IT’S US!”    –   YouTube videoRichard Alley addresses a common argument about climate change: that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide, CO2, are coming from natural sources, like volcanoes. He explains how analysis of the carbon atoms in the CO2 shows that they are the type that comes from burning fossil fuels. Therefore, the only possible explanation can be… “It’s Us.”


  • The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has decided to cut environmental laws across the board. Environment groups have started the push back against this, and we need, Australia needs, your help.  First and foremost, the leaders of the major political parties need to hear of your passion for the environment. Tell them that passionate environmentalists vote right across the political spectrum, not just Green. Somehow this blindingly obvious and basic political fact has been lost to our political leaders. It’s not 10 per cent green vote when it comes to protecting our nation’s heritage; it’s a majority vote. We’re all nuts about Australia’s heritage and wild places, we love them. In particular, Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the head of COAG, needs to hear that COAG’s environmental deregulation plans go in precisely the wrong direction. We need stronger Federal laws that can protect our wild places and wildlife. Take actionTo help there is a sample letter in the tool kit
    • FROM LAGGARD TO LEADER:How Australia Can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity.

    Beyond Zero Emissions have released their second volume of research: Laggard to Leader: How Australia Can Lead the World to Zero Carbon Prosperity. Available for $20 from BZE or downloadable free This new report challenges the common excuses that Australia’s contribution to the climate problem is insignificant, and we shouldn’t get ahead of the rest of the world, by exposing the true extent of Australia’s contribution to the climate problem and demonstrating our extraordinary potential to forge solutions at home and abroad.

    • OUR UNCASHED DIVIDEND   A recently released report on the link between climate and health, and the health and economic benefits of climate action. Produced by the Climate and Health Alliance and the Climate Alliance

    • OPEN PERMACULTUREFree resources

    Permaculture is a promising path to creating sustainable communities, founded on a system of ethics emphasizing the importance of shared values among people. The ethics embrace care for the Earth, care for the people, and sharing the excess. The gardening techniques draw from several other disciplines including natural and organic farming, agro-forestry, sustainable development, and applied ecology.

    For further reading and watching:
    - Introduction to Permaculture – 40 hours of free video lectures
    Permaculture & Homesteading Books: The Ultimate Reading List for Sustainable Living (links to over 60 Free eBook previews and full eBooks)
    - Permaculture / Organic Farming – Documentary Films Archive
    – Permaculture Media Blog
    is a continually growing archive of more than 2000 Free videos, eBooks, podcasts and documentaries, divided into 4 main categories;
    -“Permaculture & Organic Gardening”, “Natural & Green Building”, “Renewable Energy” and “Environmental Activism”
    -Permaculture Directory is a free listing site for sustainable-living events from all over the world. Over 1300 events are listed, which have helped thousands of people to find life changing courses, workshops and festival


    Logged Australian native forests are not renewable in the time-frame in which urgent action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They can only reabsorb lost carbon over periods ranging from several decades to centuries. Future logging for whatever purpose will

- add to the atmospheric CO2 load, which is already too high
– reduce the stocks of carbon in the forests
– damage the capacity of the forests to draw down carbon dioxide
– make the forests drier, with more water hungry regrowth, affecting the land/atmosphere water cycle
– result in losses in soils, micro-organisms, plants and animals

Check out the animation, made by the Australian Forest and Climate Alliance, about the critical connection between forests and climate

    What wild animals are in your backyard right now? Register at ClimateWatch to report what species you have seen in your garden. This info will help scientists to see if animals are doing things like breeding, nesting, raising young and so on at the same times each year or whether their regular patterns are changing. It is free to join up and quite addictive once you start reporting all your sightings!
  • NIGHT STALK – from 1 Sept – 16 Oct 2012
    Australia-wide citizen science program that encourages people to head out into the darkness, torch in hand looking for native and feral species.  This year we hope to get over 2000 participants recording and learning about the species that inhabit their local area.
    Night Stalks can be done on any night or every night during this period.
    They can happen anywhere around Australia.
    Using the spotter’s log, animal sightings and evidence of animals can be recorded.
    Animal sightings can be entered into the Biological Data Recording System (BDRS) online or Spotters Logs can be returned to Perth Zoo.
    Night Stalk is run by and the data collected is collated by Perth Zoo.

Aside from the importance of data collection, the main goal of participation in Night Stalk is for participants to become more familiar with the animals that live in suitable habitats around your local area. Ultimately we hope Night Stalkers go onto undertake some conservation action that will assist the remaining species. More info:

  • ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN AUSTRALIA – Report by the Environmental Defender’s Office.
    The term ‘environmental justice’ has been very little used in Australia, and certainly not in the rich context that it has been in the United States. However there are signs that the concept is starting to gain traction here. For example, the Victorian Environment Protection Authority is currently considering how the concept might be developed and applied by them in a regulatory context. This project will explore and develop the concept of ‘environmental justice’ as a principle for identifying priority areas of unmet need, and then develop appropriate and effective methods so the EDO and other centres can meet these needs. This will be achieved by looking at three case studies, comprising: rural disadvantage in access to information and services with respect to land use planning, traditional owner involvement in natural resource management, and community involvement in decision-making around the disposal of waste, particularly hazardous waste. Project funded by Victoria Law Foundation View final report – Environmental Justice Project (July 2012, PDF, 6,513KB
  • BACK TO THE START: CULTIVATE A BETTER WORLD – YouTube video The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Coldplay’s haunting classic ‘The Scientist’ is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system.
    Interesting little video about the making of “Back to the start”  A behind the scenes look at the process of creating the video and the thoughts and ideas behind it:

The Climate Commission has released the report:  Victorian climate impacts and opportunities Professor Tim Flannery, the Commission’s Chief Commissioner said that we have entered a critical decade in the race to adapt for the stresses of climate change.  About Victoria and its state of play Tim writes:

  • CLIMATE POLITICS IN AUSTRALIA: WHERE WE ARE, HOW WE GOT HERE AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT - A 3-part series by “Climate Code Red” co-author David Spratt

Climate denier governments have taken power in eastern Australia and in WA, and will likely do so In Canberra in 2013.  How did this happen, what lessons can we learn, and how can we build a united mobilisation with clear messages and objectives? 1.html 2.html 3.html


  • The Post Carbon Pathwayswebsite aims to strengthen understanding of strategies for achieving a rapid transition to a just and sustainable post carbon future. There are interviews with Paul Gilding, Roy Neel, Jenny Clad and Mark Ogge, as well as John Wiseman’s Post Carbon Postcard #2 from New York City. The website will be updated regularly over the next few months with more in-depth interviews with leading post carbon transition thinkers and advocates, and more resources about inspiring initiatives around the world“WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD” – Video

“WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD” – VideoDavid Attenborough’s “What a wonderful world” is yet another reminder of what, in our ignorance and greed, we are destroying.

“WELCOME TO THE REST OF OUR LIVES.”   Peter Sinclair, who runs the blog Climate Denial Crock of the Week , just put together this fantastic a compilation of the recent extreme weather events around the U.S. The film’s title is a scarily accurate and simple description of our new reality. Must-See Video Compilation Of Extreme Weather: ‘Welcome To The Rest Of Our Lives’

For a quick animation of how the globe has warmed since Industrial Revolution times, you can now watch a simple video from NASA that collapses the story into less than half a minute.
The Center for Biological Diversity has been fighting global warming for many years on many fronts, from protecting polar bears to stopping offshore oil drilling and calling on cities to push our leaders to act now to help the Clean Air Act reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. Then see the impressive force of what we’re up against in the 131-years-of-climate-change-in-26-seconds video.