Editorial – October/November/December 2018

The summer of 2018 is all a bit of a blur at this point, even though it just ended.  It has dissolved into an overall memory of humidity, drought (in our neck of the woods), overwhelming happiness (with the birth of of our first grand-child, a beautiful little girl named Sarah) and some sad times as well.  Life is unpredictable, isn’t it?  It can change course in the blink of an eye, or sneak up on us gradually leaving us wondering why we didn’t see something coming.


Autumn is a bit like that in its inherent nature as well.  We want it to come and give us relief from heat and humidity and bring the beauty of its colours and harvest, but we never seem to be fully prepared for its passage from that beautiful stage to the more sombre time of gray skies and leafless trees, not to mention the cold weather.

Our special days for the season seem to take place appropriately. Thanksgiving arrives at the height of autumn beauty which lends, I think, to a more grateful heart enhanced by the sheer beauty of our surroundings and the appreciation of family, friends and bountiful harvest. November brings us Remembrance Day, such a significant day, especially this year marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1. It’s a day to pay homage to those who have fought to keep our country free and strong and to bring awareness to those who have compromised their own well-being – mentally and/or physically – for all of us.  It is a day that is ever-evolving.  We learn more and more about the Great Wars and the incredible sacrifices made by our grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations all for us and generations to follow.  It is beyond comprehension.  And the fact that war and peace-keeping continue to be necessary, taking place and costing lives still today on a daily basis around the world is unbelievable when we know, only too well, the consequences. It is so important to honour and acknowledge our military, past and present… one day seems hardly enough, but we can keep them in our prayers year ‘round and support them in many other ways. (*Be sure to read Doug Phillips’ article on page 16 about Armistice Day.)


After the subdued days of a typical November, we gear up for the Christmas and holiday season and light up the dark nights with bright lights, get-togethers and gift-giving, and a warm, bright fire in many hearths. It surely lightens the hearts of many to have this time to look forward to, a time of family friends and sharing, even if you don’t fully partake of all it has become.


With the giving season in mind, I have to tell you about something I learned of in the mid-summer that only too well exhibits our more common habit of “taking”.


It is a day called Earth Overshoot Day and I will just quote Wikipedia below so you can see what, exactly, it is – besides concerning.


“Earth Overshoot Day (EOD), previously known as Ecological Debt Day (EDD), is the calculated illustrative calendar date on which humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year. Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by dividing the world biocapacity (the amount of natural resources generated by Earth that year), by the world ecological footprint (humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in one Gregorian common calendar year:
World Biocapacity/World Ecological Footprint X 365 = Earth Overshoot Day


When viewed through an economic perspective, EOD represents the day in which humanity enters an ecological deficit spending. In ecology the term Earth Overshoot Day illustrates the level by which human population overshoots its environment. In 2018, Earth Overshoot Day is on August 1.[1]


Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by Global Footprint Network and is a campaign supported by dozens of other nonprofit organizations.[2] Information about Global Footprint Network’s calculations[3] and national Ecological Footprints[4] are available online.


Date of EOD on the release year
Year Overshoot Date
1987 December 19
1990 December 7
1995 November 21
2000 November 1
2005 October 20
2010 August 21
2011 August 27
2012 August 22
2013 August 20
2014 August 19
2015 August 13
2016 August 8
2017 August 2
2018 August 1


Andrew Simms of UK think tank New Economics Foundation originally developed the concept of Earth Overshoot Day. Global Footprint Network, a partner organization of New Economics Foundation, launches a campaign every year for Earth Overshoot Day to raise awareness of Earth’s limited resources. Global Footprint Network measures humanity’s demand for and supply of natural resources and ecological services. Global Footprint Network estimates that in less than eight months, we demand more renewable resources and CO2 sequestration than what the planet can provide for an entire year.[2]


Throughout most of history, humanity has used nature’s resources to build cities and roads, to provide food and create products, and to release carbon dioxide at a rate that was well within Earth’s budget. But by the early 1970s, that critical threshold had been crossed: 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 that of more than 1.5 Earths. The data shows us on track to require the resources of two planets well before mid-2000-century.


Advocates for Earth Overshoot Day note that the costs of ecological overspending are becoming more evident over time. Climate change — a result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans — is the most obvious result and widespread effects. Other cited effects include: shrinking forests, species loss, fisheries collapse, higher commodity prices and civil unrest.[2]”


  While EOD has its critics and could be discussed endlessly as to whether or not it is accurate or valid, I don’t think any of us can deny that most of us consume far too many things that we could quite easily do without – and managed, as the human race, to do without for millennium.   When I first heard about EOD on the radio, the person reporting was talking about the USA and their 2018 Overshoot Day being March (March!) 15.  Feeling a little smug, I thought that we Canadians were probably  going to clock in around November being the environmentally conscientious people we are… but not so.  Our EOD was also in March – only three days later than the USA; March 18.
Of course, I think you might see where I’m going with this.  Here it is: Why aren’t antiques and vintage items flying off the shelves at the hundreds of shops, shows, markets and auctions available to us?  Why do we insist on buying new things that do the same job but are of questionable quality  and, in some cases, are downright dangerous to have in your home?


Why do elegant, delightful sets of china and cookware end up in thrift shops while people go online and purchase new Made-in-China sets? Are we sacrificing generations of well-made items for mere gratification purchases – because they fit our fleeting styles? I have noticed that the huge online retail markets like to encourage us to buy whatever pleases us whenever it pleases us – and they also like to tell you that you “deserve” it.  Maybe we should get over the self-serving era of hedonism in recognition of what we’re teaching our kids and grandkids.  Remember the idea of “making do” with things that still function well? And taking care of the things that you own? It is a profound thought… “making do.” It’s one that not very many of us are familiar with any more.  While we’re making ourselves happy for a few weeks with that new purchase, something has usually been pushed out the door to make room for it.  (I just hope it has gone to a charity and not a land-fill.)


I am by no means perfect when it comes to retail, but I have come to love many re-useable things as I age that  I would have dismissed as a younger person. I like and appreciate “used” things and much prefer to hunt in an antique shop or show – or a thrift shop –  than online. I know that there are times when you require a specific item that has to be new.  I just think we should reconsider having “new”  as our mind-set.


I hope everyone has a memorable and enjoyable fall season.  It’s a good time to remind ourselves that there are so many others in need – the recent tornadoes in Ottawa/Gatineau have added significantly to that list.  Please dig deep into your hearts and commit to sharing with others who truly need your kindness in any way you can help. And don’t forget to pause from your busy lives on November 11 to pay tribute to our fallen. We owe them so much – a debt we can never repay.


Thanks for reading – we’ll be back again in mid-December with the 2019 Winter issue. Until then, safe travels, God bless!
This Is Livin’ Publishing
The Wayback Times
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Hastings, ON K0L 1Y0
705 696-1833

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