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Earth Overshoot Day passes

Posted by Abigail Travers on 22nd August 2014 with 0 comments

Earth Overshoot DayThe 19th of August marked Earth Overshoot Day; don’t worry, I didn’t know what it was either. Also known as Ecological Debt Day, it is the point in the year when our demand for ecological resources and services exceeds what the Earth can produce in 12 months. The concept was originally created by Andrew Simms who is part of the New Economics Foundation, and is an approximate date worked out by dividing the amount of natural resources for that year by humanity’s consumption of earth’s natural resources for that year and then multiplying that by 365.

Overshoot is driven by four key factors:

1. How much we consume

2. How efficiently products are made

3. How many of us there are

4. How much Nature is able to produce

While biological productivity has been expanded over the years with help from technology and more extensive inputs, this expansion has not even come close to keeping pace with the rate at which population and resource demand have grown. After Earth Overshoot Day, we are living in an ecological debt for the rest of the year which means we are constantly using up too many resources and if this trend continues, we will eventually use up all of the Earth’s natural resources.

EarthIt was in the mid-1970s that human consumption began to exceed what the planet could produce, and at our current rate we would need 1.5 Earths to meet our demand. Worryingly, Earth overshoot day has been getting earlier each year. Going back to 1987 it was December 19th, and in the past ten years it has crept forward two months from October 20th in 2005 to mid-August this year, despite Global Footprint Network’s annual campaign to raise awareness of the issue. This interactive map will help you get an idea of how things have changed over the years, and you can compare the ecological footprint per capita of each country. The Network hopes to accelerate the use of the Ecological Footprint to measure the amount of resources we have and how much we use in order to better manage our demand on the Earth’s ecosystems and cut down carbon emissions.

The question is what can you do to help? It may seem like such a daunting task to an individual, but if enough of us really try hard to live more eco-friendly lives then we can make a difference. It’s likely that you have already reduced your personal carbon footprint by turning off lights when you leave a room, washing clothes on a cold wash, recycling everything from plastic bottles to electronics and batteries and using renewable energy were possible. It will also really help if you reduce food waste, try not to throw anything out that is just by its sell by date, vegetables can go into sauces or stock, and freeze what you know you won’t use immediately – make sure you don’t go shopping on an empty stomach or you’ll buy everything in sight! You can also fill your home with products that are eco-friendly, recycled, FSC Certified, energy efficient and organic that are designed to protect our planet rather than use up its resources.

So what will you do in the next year to push back Earth Overshoot Day?

The post Earth Overshoot Day passes appeared first on Ethical Blog from Ethicalsuperstore.com.

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Fairtrade at 20

Posted by Abigail Travers on 21st August 2014 with 1 comment

Fairtrade at 20

Fact of the Week: 125 different countries sell Fairtrade products

Fairtrade certified products are sold in businesses all over the UK, from supermarkets and independent shops to cafés and restaurants; you’ll also find a massive range of Fairtrade labelled products here at ethicalsuperstore.com. This year we are celebrating 20 years of Fairtrade in the UK. While the first Fairtrade labelled product was coffee produced in the Netherlands in 1988, the UK has been selling Fairtrade Labelled products since 1994 to become one of the world’s leading Fairtrade markets with sales in 2012 reaching £1.57bn.

But what does the Fairtrade label really mean? You know it can help farmers in developing countries but the question is how does buying one product help someone thousands of miles away? It’s simple really, if you spend your money on certified products, you are giving money to a supplier that meets certain standards put in place by the Fairtrade foundation, including protection of worker’s rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

Tea picker - ©Anette Kay

Fairtrade tea picker

These standards ensure that workers are paid a living wage which serves to better their economic situation and living standards, without simply sending aid to the 1.4 million farmers and workers in 70 countries around the world who participate in Fairtrade. The organisation really stands out because it is 50% owned by producers, so they have an equal voice in decision making and ultimately can create their own working standards.

Fairtrade products are now sold in over 125 countries worldwide and include bananas, tea, coffee, chocolate, fashion, flowers, gold and sugar among many others.

If simply buying Fairtrade is not enough for you, visit their website and find out what else you can do!

The post Fairtrade at 20 appeared first on Ethical Blog from Ethicalsuperstore.com.

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