Earthrise – Happy 50th Anniversary, Christmas Eve, 2018

photo: William Anders,  Apollo 8, December 24, 1968  Apollo 8 crew: Frank Borman, James Lovell, William Anders

There are three NASA photographs that seem central in shaping and reshaping our consciousness, philosophy and reality regarding our interactions with each other, with other species, and with the planet as well as our role in the universe.

They are Earthrise, the Blue Marble, and the Pale Blue Dot.  The Blue Marble is probably the most familiar of the three.  

photo: Apollo 17, December 7, 1972 Apollo 17 crew: Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Jack Schmitt

I frequently use the Blue Marble in my courses and speaking engagements to put the topics in a planetary context, and to remind the listeners of what “home” looks like.  I had the opportunity to hear Artist-Astronaut / Astronaut-Artist Nicole Stott speak of her time in space.  She spoke of the 3 take-aways she had from those experiences: 

That we live on a Planet,

That we are Earthlings,

and the Thin Blue Line.

It is easy to forget that we live on a Planet.  In our daily lives there is nothing in our regular perspectives that remind us of that fact.  Our mental construct is that we live in a place that can be identified by its address. We work in place or go to school in a place that can be identified by its address. If asked where we live our answers generally fall into one of two categories.  If traveling, we generally answer the question with a place name – the city or town where we live, or say we live near a larger metropolitan area that may have more global recognition.  If we are in our home region when asked, we generally say ‘over on ____” or “near ____”.

What we don’t say is “Planet Earth”.  Planet Earth unites us.  The other answers separate us.

We are all Earthlings. When I heard that “ah-ha” moment, it gave me a new and broader perspective on how to talk about a range of issues.  Because yes, we are all Earthlings.  If we live on Earth, we are an Earthling.  So whether you are a person, a Golden Retriever, a Barred Owl, a goldfish or any other living thing on Earth, you are an Earthling.  That understanding could be, should be, the central precept to guide our interactions with each other and other species.

For, in the final analysis,                                                                                                our most basic common link                                                                                              is that we all inhabit this planet.                                                                                We all breathe the same air.                                                                                         We all cherish our children’s future.                                                                  And we are all mortal.  

President John F. Kennedy,  American University, June 10, 1963

Nicole’s reference to the Thin Blue Line is a critical reminder that our atmosphere is what protects and shields us from the ravages of outer space.  We should protect it and guard it with our lives, for without it, we, the current Earthlings, cannot exist. Whether in space or at sea or as Earthlings, thoughtlessly or accidentally poking holes in the hull of the vessel is never a good idea.

Pale Blue Dot

photo: Voyager 1, February 14, 1990     Earth from approximately 4 billion miles. White mark to aid in locating the Pale Blue Dot

The Pale Blue Dot has a different message.  To me it speaks of both the isolation and the independence of Planet Earth.  It is the image of a lifeboat.  What we have on board is all that we have to work with and the management of those precious resources determines our quality of life and degree to which we survive or thrive or fail.  

The Pale Blue Dot also reminds us of Earth’s uniqueness in the known universe.   

Earthrise though is the most important of the three, at least to me. 

 In one image it tells the whole story.  It is the contrast of the barren lunar landscape in the foreground with the brightness of the Earth in the distance coupled with the vast dark emptiness of the background that gives us the critical perspective we need to keep in mind.  Even our closest celestial neighbor is hostile to us and cannot provide us sanctuary. There is no place we can go in our solar system, and no place currently known to us in the galaxy or universe where we could arrive, open the hatch and survive. 

We have one home.  And we are there.  And it is majestic and beautiful and generous and will continue to be so provided Humans learn they are Earthlings and act as such.  Because in our hearts we know, as Dorothy learned,

There’s no place like home.


Tim                                                                                                                                              26 Dec. 2018











Today, August 1st– is Earth Overshoot Day for 2018

Once again, as we have for the previous 47 consecutive years, the cumulative, collective and continuous wants of Humanity have exceeded the capacity and capability of the our planet to meet thosedemands. (1)And this year we did it in record time.

Humanity is acting as if we have access to the biological capacity of 1.7 Earths. (2)  Clearly we do not.  When we assume that we can use 20.4 months of resources in a 12-month year, we are acting to our detriment. The only way we can overcome the shortfall that we have created is by increasing pollution and/or reducing the capability of the planet’s biocapacity to meet future demands. After all, the overshoot is created by our overharvesting of the sea, the land, and the forests as well as compromising the quality of the air and water upon which life depends.

         We get so much from the planet and there needs to be reciprocity.  We need to give a little back to the earth.                                                           Tracie Troxler (3)

Overshoot has become our de facto modis operandi.  It cannot continue to be our legacy if we wish to have a legacy.  Cultures, civilizations collapse and species disappear when they do not, or cannot, change their lifeways to stay in ecological balance with biocapacity of their homeland.

Overshoot is a bad habit that we must break.  And I know that nothing is harder than breaking a bad habit that we enjoy. Consuming resources while assuming that we have no responsibility relative to the negative impacts of those actions is the great illusion (delusion) of our day.

Do we really, truly believe that we are that disconnected from the planet on which we live?

Do we really, truly believe that we are not creative enough to find more effective and efficient ways to live so that we reduce pollution and waste?

Do we really, truly believe that our purpose as a species is to ignore “the better angels of our nature.”(4)

We have spent 48 years putting ourselves at increasing risk.

No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road,                                      turn back.                                                                                                                       Turkish Proverb (5)

 There is a #move the date (6)campaign because that is what we have to do.  We are on the wrong road, and we have to move the date back.  Like most habits one tries to break, this one will be slow at the start, there will be slips and slides, but as the concept and desire for change takes hold, the process will pick up speed and be successful.

Don’t be encumbered by history,                                                                              Just go out and do something wonderful.                                                        Robert Noyce (7)


Tim                                                                                                                                                 1 August 2018





  3. Edible Sarasota, Spring 2018. Page 12 “Feeding the soil: sunshine community compost.” Words Nicole Carbon. Photos Kathryn Brass-Piper   


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The Environment is Crucial to Economic Health

The days of the ‘economy verses environment’ fight are over, and really have been for several years. How do I know this, – the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland tells me so. Since 2011 environmental factors have been in the top 5 global risks both in likelihood and in impact. This year, environmental factors dominate both categories.




“Biodiversity is being lost at mass-extinction rate, agricultural systems are under strain and pollution of air and sea has become an increasingly pressing threat to human health.” (1)

“. . . at a global level humanity faces a growing number of systemic challenges, including fractures and failures affecting environmental, economic, technological and institutional systems on which our future rests.” (1)

“Humanity cannot successfully deal with the multiplicity of challenges we face either sequentially or in isolation.” (1)

“Humanity has become remarkably adept at understanding how to mitigate conventional risk that can be relatively easily isolated and managed with standard risk management. But we are much less competent when it comes to dealing with complex risks in the interconnected systems that underpin our world, such as organizations, economies, societies and the environment.” (1)

“When risk cascades through a complex system, the danger is not of incremental damage but of “runaway collapse” or an abrupt transition to a new suboptimal status quo.” (1)

“We have to work together – that is the key to preventing crisis and making the world more resilient for current and future generations.” (1)

This is the change of consciousness that those of us at This Space Earth have been striving for – there is only one Earth and we are all on it together. For humanity to have a future that it wants, we need to think and act in terms of systems, not silos, while operating in the context, capacity and constraints of the planet.

While those statements may seem obvious, our planetary footprint of 1.7 earths(2), the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, extreme weather events, ocean acidification, air pollution, water pollution, and the extinction of 150 species per day(3) clearly indicates that collectively we are not behaving in a way that understands and acknowledges the realities of the only know planet in the universe on which we can exist.

The environment can be humanity’s greatest friend or                                            if poorly managed, our most implacable foe.                                                   Achim Steiner (4)


The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem.      Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others.                        President Theodore Roosevelt (5)

There is hope and optimism for the future, provided we start thinking and acting in a planetary context. Given the lag time between cause and effect at a global scale, in the next 20-30 years we are going to experience pain from the events we unknowingly and unwittingly initiated decades past. As to the actions we collectively take going forth, it will be our children and grandchildren who will really reap the benefits. But that’s OK. Really, isn’t that what we are supposed to do – set up the next generation so it can have a better quality of life than previous generations?

If there must be trouble, let it be in my day,                                                            that my child may have peace.                                                                             Thomas Paine (6)

There is no question in my mind that we can solve the problems that confront us – be they environmental, social, or economic. It does take an integrated approach as the three systems are intertwined and if we examined them simultaneously we can find the solutions for they are inherent in the mix. Plus, I doubt that any of us truly wants to promote either a “runaway collapse” or an abrupt transition to a new suboptimal status quo. (1)

Unfortunately the great unknown is, will we?

Can do and will do are very different things. Will those who are ‘comfortably unaware’ be willing to acknowledge their differentiated responsibility to the health and viability of our planet’s future?

I do not know. Of what I am sure is that humanity’s future will be a shared one.

“We have to work together – that is the key to preventing crisis and making the world more resilient for current and future generations.” (1)

The future is our fate – the future is ours to make.

Please Choose Appropriately.


Tim Rumage, Planetary Ethicist




(1) World Economic Forum, The Global Risks Report 2018, 13th Edition                                         



4)  Chape, Stuart, M.D. Spalding, M.D. Jenkins, (Editors),‎  (2008) The World’s Protected Areas: Status,   Values and Prospects in the 21st Century, University of California Press

(5) The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problemThe American Presidency

(6) Paine, Thomas. The Crisis, December 23, 1776                               Thomas Paine: American Crisis

(7) Oppenlander, Richard. (2012) Comfortably Unaware: What We Choose to Eat Is Killing Us and Our Planet, Beaufort Books)






Babcock Ranch – The First Solar City in the United States


Babcock Ranch – The First Solar City in the United States                       by Tim Rumage


I have long believed that our electricity supply system had a vitamin D deficiency. We were not getting enough sunlight into the equation.

I’m well versed in both the potential and viability of solar energy, and the promise of sustainability. I’m also an advocate of Buckminster Fuller’s design philosophy and a disciple of Ian McHarg’s “Design with Nature.”

Just a few days ago I saw all those concepts and solutions become manifest at Babcock Ranch, Florida. Babcock Ranch is the best example of experiential design for real-life daily-living anywhere that I know of.

Imagine a community integrated into a nature preserve with 50 miles of hiking and biking trails. From home you can easily walk to town, to a trailhead or to a series of lakes. The town is complete with schools and health care facilities as well as community gardens, a five acre farm and a seasonally/locally sourced farm to table restaurant. And it is all solar powered… and all homes include one Gbps Wi-Fi.

The most amazing part is… you don’t have to imagine it. You can go see it, visit it, or even buy a home and move in.

Working with Florida Power and Light, Babcock Ranch runs off a 400 acre, 74.5-megawatt solar array that provides enough energy for the town at build out (50,000 people) plus neighboring customers. A 10-megawatt energy storage system will soon be installed, and a second 74.5-megawatt solar array is under construction to expand solar power availability to the region.

I think they should put up a sign at the entrance to Babcock Ranch that says “Your dependence on fossil fuels ends when you enter here.” Mass transit in Babcock Ranch, in case you don’t want to walk or bike, is provided via solar powered electric autonomous vehicles.

Stewardship of Babcock Ranch extends well beyond its use of solar energy. Existing wetlands have all been preserved in place and in function. A rain garden has been added to the system to mitigate and treat storm water coming off the roads. The forests are professionally managed with prescribed burns and selective cuttings. Cattle are still grazed, watermelons still grown, streams and stream habitats are well maintained. Endangered species habitat has been enhanced, and commercial bee hives assist with pollination and to produce honey.

The building code ensures that homes are weather/climate appropriate, well insulated and energy efficient. The plant palette for home/community landscapes relies heavily on native plants, and includes restrictions on both the amount of area devoted to lawns and the types of grass that can be used. There are also set-asides for existing native trees. When native trees are in the way of construction, they are not bulldozed, but are transplanted in new locations on the property.

Babcock Ranch is a game-changer for new developments, urban expansion or redevelopments. It clearly demonstrates that cutting-edge sustainability can cost effectively be accomplished using progressive design and clean energy. As such, designing traditional fossil fuel dependent communities in the future will be seen as inefficient and short-sighted.

Babcock Ranch eliminates the excuse that solar power can’t work at city scale. In fact, their solar installation is designed to operate at city scale.

Solar power, autonomous vehicles, local food, and hiking trails; it’s like George Jetson living in a Nature Preserve. Who doesn’t want to live where the benefits of technological advancements helps ensure the natural and historic integrity of place?



Additional Information:

The first residents of Babcock Ranch are scheduled to move in early January 2018.

To get to Babcock Ranch, Florida take exit 143 off of I-75.                      Go east on State Road 78.                                                                                              At the junction of SR 78 with State Road 31, go North SR 31  to Crescent Loop.                                                                                                                      At Crescent Loop go East to the Town Center of Babcock Ranch.             From I-75 to Crescent Loop is approximately 8.8 miles.

Marley’s Ghost

To me, the significance of the winter solstice is not that it is the longest night and the shortest day; it is the promise of the sun before the depth of winter. It is the sign that hope and joy overcome dark and cold- be it of the seasons or of our souls. The winter solstice is about renewal, beginnings and the coming warmth of spring. It is a time of celebration; for each day is longer, brighter, stronger. Perhaps that is why the winter solstice tends to bring to mind “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

Like many people I enjoy witnessing Scrooge’s transformation from ‘business’ Scrooge to ‘humanitarian’ Scrooge with the aid of the three spirits. At the start of the story, Scrooge, like many of us, is a victim of siloed thinking. This is what I am, and this is what I do. And my worldview and assessment of others is based on the measures I use to quantify and qualify success in the context of my silo.

`But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,’
faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

But it’s Marley’s Ghost who is the hero and guiding light of the story. His words are the ones to which we should pay attention- for he is the bringing the change of consciousness. He may even be the first businessman to promote the Triple Bottom Line, who also understood the hierarchical value of the Planet>People >Profit, and explained the scope and balance of concerns needed to achieve sustainability.

`Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again.                        `Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business.     The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water                                                in the comprehensive ocean of my business!’                                             Marley’s ghost

The story of Scrooge shows that we can change our behaviors and our priorities when we have a change of consciousness. He may have needed the assistance and reminders of three consultants (Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future), but ultimately it is Scrooge who, in heart, mind and body, comprehends the need for change.

Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends,                                                              to which, if persevered in, they must lead.                                                             But if the courses be departed from,                                                                             the ends will change.

And so it is with Scrooge. He departs from his previous course and thrives by living his altered life.

He did it all, and infinitely more;

And so it is with humanity today. The extreme environmental events we are living with and through; the growing disparity of incomes; the social angst, malaise, anger, hunger, and frustration are the foreshadowing of the growing grimness of our coming future if we stay our current course.

Will we embrace the words of Marley as Scrooge did, and change? Or will we stay in our silos and pretend that our trade is more important than everything else now and forever?

It is are not only for what we do that we are held responsible,                        but also for what we do not do.                                                                              Moliere







except for Moliere,

all quotes are from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens




We are all on this together

 “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality                                                    tied in a single garment of destiny,                                                                      whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.                                                                                                      Letter from a Birmingham Jail

Atmospheric CO2 increases as Seas, Soil and Trees are Overwhelmed

On December 12, 2015 the Paris Climate Accord (PCA)*1 was adopted by consensus of the 195 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). News reports showed the celebrative mood of the participants. Not only had the PCA been agreed upon, but the plan was going to try to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5oC (2.7oF) surpassing the original goal of limiting global warming to 2oC (3.6oF).

In 2016, the amount of atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO2) rose by 3.3 ppm*2 (25.77 billion metric tonnes of CO2)*3 to 403.3ppm, the largest single year increase in 30 years. In a healthy, functionally stable ecosystem, the carbon exchange balances out on an annual cycle between the atmosphere, the ocean and organisms. It is during transition periods from one type of climate to another that we see major releases or sequestrations of atmospheric gases.

In 2017, the world is witnessing the first increase in CO2 emissions in 3 years*4. The estimated rise is 2%, most of that coming from an increase in the use of Coal.

The Paris Climate Agreement is a well-intended document. While the PAC was a step forward in getting people and countries to agree that climate change was real, was taking place, was a liability, was human caused, and that the worst outcomes could be avoided by human action, the agreement had several weaknesses.

One was that each country set its own voluntary, non-legally binding target projections to reduce emissions. The second was the 5-year time lag between agreeing to the PAC and the official start of the agreement. The third, and most problematic weakness, was that the cumulative promise made by all parties was too meager to achieve the stated goal; thus creating the Paris Gap*5between preference and reality.

There is another critical factor to remember when trying to mitigate climate change, and that is simple reality – contrary to human nature – that humans are not in control of the myriad synergistic interactions that make up the life sustaining characteristics of Planet Earth. With climate change,

 we’re not only dealing with forces of a far greater variety                            than even the atomic physicist encounters, but with life itself.”                     Dr. Frack C. Baxter*6

The increase in atmospheric CO2 in 2016 was not about an increase in emissions, but the decrease in the capacity of the ocean and plant life to uptake (absorb or use) the CO2 due to droughts, wildfires, and high temperatures*7. Humanity’s previous emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) contributes to the cause, severity, and changing frequency of these events making more and more of these events Human’s Nature.

The increase in CO2 emissions in 2017 was a result of the increased burning of coal*8. In some cases, the coal was burnt to generate additional electricity to support a growing economy. In other cases, coal was burnt to replace the hydroelectric power that was unavailable due to reduced water volume in rivers. The degree to which we humans choose to think locally rather than planetarily is the measure of the amount of “unintended consequences” that we can generate globally.

Actions speak louder than words. Knowledge is neither a viable nor functional substitution for doing.

Nations do behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives Abba Eban, Foreign Minister, Israel. 1966-1974*9

it’s not enough that we do our best;                                                              sometimes we have to do what’s required.                                                     Winston Churchill*10

Let’s hope we get all of our insufficient efforts and rationales for procrastination out of our way and out of our minds quickly enough to fulfill the promises we made to ourselves and our descendants in the Paris Climate Agreement. Failure should not be our default option of convenience or intentions for

we are entering a period of consequences.                                                     Winston Churchill*11




– Tim












Sustainability in a Changing World, a talk by Alize´ Carrère

On Monday night I was at a talk by Alize´ Carrère.

While the presentation was entitled “Sustainability in a Changing World,” its real focus was on how individuals/communities/cultures are adapting to the climate change that they are currently facing.

Her key examples were the Lavakas of Madagascar, floating gardens and floating farms in Bangladesh, The Shupta Project, and the last was about a community spear fishing Crown of Thorn Starfish and turning them into organic compost.

According to Darwin’s Origin of Species,                                                                        it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives;                                      it is not the strongest that survives;                                                                             but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.                           Leon C. Megginson

The Lavaka are the “holes” made in the landscape when the ground collapses after deforestation and the tree roots are no longer available to help stabilize the soil structure. The question then becomes what should one do – restore the prior landscape or adapt to the new landscape? Restore would focus on replanting the missing forest to regain habitat while creating a carbon sink. However, many of the local individuals have opted to adapt to the new landscape. The vegetation in the Lavakas is less prone to fire, and the drainage in the Lavakas makes them an ideal place to grow crops.

As to the floating gardens and farms in Bangladesh, the issue there is that the combination of Sea Level Rise, more powerful monsoons, and river flooding due to glacier melt means that in some parts of the country ‘wet’ has become the predominate condition. As such housing, schooling and agriculture have needed to adapt to a water world. So boats have become the architecture of education, while rafts and constructed floating islands have become the ‘fields’ of farming. Frequently the buoyant farms have nets suspended underneath them for fish farming and/or a mesh enclosure around them that serves as a duck pen. Adaptive innovation provided a way to maintain community independence thus avoiding the uncertainty of becoming a climate refugee.

The Shupa Project has allowed people to continue farming and living in the region even though the presence of glacial melt water has become unpredictable. The adaptation in this project was to siphon water from the glacier fed streams and use the difference in pressure between high elevation source of the water and the lower elevation farming areas to create a water fountain. During the winter, the water droplets are caught on strands of thread or metal and freeze. Some of the ice shupas created are as much as 90 feet tall! Then the melt water from the ice shupas is used as the irrigation source for agriculture.

Regarding the Crown of Thorn Starfish (COTs), this issue was generated by over harvesting the trumpet shell conch because of their value in the tourist and shell trades. Once the predator was gone, the COTs population increased and resulted in the overgrazing and killing of the coral reefs. The adaptation was to spear the COTs and transport them to land. (The COTs are speared due to the toxicity of the starfish). Once the COTs have dried, they are crushed and used as fertilizer.

Alize´ spoke of the three options a community has relative to environmental changes it is experiencing: mitigate, adapt, or suffer. The degree to which the previous examples are coping mechanism or solutions will be determined by the success of mitigation at the planetary scale relative to the adaptive capacity of the community.

She then expanded the conversation to how do you teach high-stakes problem in a low-stakes environment? The concern is that those with a “comfortable reality” are potentially the least adaptable. Adaptation is a mindset. But if you believe that you or your community has sufficient financial capability and an adequate period of time to avoid or minimize the impact of a changing environment, then you may not respond to the coming risks and liabilities soon enough or fast enough. Rather than adapting, the functional outcome of your strategy may be to make yourself a climate refugee. Currently, it is the people on the edge who are adapting.

She closed the presentation with the request that we make an effort to change the narrative of climate change and its associated attributes from doom and loss to one of resilience. With apologies to Vivian Greene, our climate focus should not be on the size of the harm, but our ability to adapt to the change if we want our communities to have a viable and, hopefully, verdant future.

– Tim Rumage

7 Nov. 2017


Images of the aforementioned and similar projects can be found on line.

Alize´ is a Cultural Ecologist and a National Geographic Explorer



President’s Climate Council has been disbanded.

The disbanding of the Climate Council1 was an easy story to miss in the last couple of weeks of statutes, protests, Harvey and floods. Even today’s news of the US State Department’s proposed reorganization2, which functionally demotes the discussions on Climate Change as well as the Arctic Region, was barely mentioned as the media brought us images of the rescues of the now internally displaced persons from Houston and surrounding regions.

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend

Henri Bergson

How we view Hurricane Harvey3 and how we view the news that for the first time a LNG tanker crossed the northern sea route from Europe to Asia without the assistance of an icebreaker4 is a reflection of how we think. Given the geographical separation, it would be easy to see these as isolated events. Given their historic context and nature (unprecedented flooding versus a successful voyage through the northwest passage) it would be reasonable to disconnect the two events.

Yet there is a way to connect both events. Climate change, in the context of global warming, has been central to the reduction of both the surface area and the thickness of polar ice5, thus making a northwest passage possible. That same warming of the oceans is what has brought the Gulf of Mexico to record high temperatures6 facilitating the strength of hurricanes. High air temperature also allows for greater water content in the atmosphere, which can trigger larger rain events. Add to this a heat wave in the west and a high-pressure area to the east and the hurricane gets trapped7,8 where it is.

Is Hurricane Harvey a once in a lifetime event? I doubt it. It may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Houston, but not for the Gulf or the U.S.

What does any of this have to do with disbanding the Climate Council? You cannot use information you do not have. And you cannot evaluate the relative importance of the answer to a question that was not asked.

We are in a time of increasingly rapid climate change. The past is losing its validity as a model for predicting the future. As the projections on rainfall for the Houston region were being made, many people found the numbers hard to believe. They did not comply with past personal experience or recorded memory. But the truth of the projections continues to play out.

I can appreciate the wish that climate change will not happen. But I also accept the reality that it is. Welcomed or not, we need climate councils. We need people in the room when decisions are being made who are willing to ask the uncomfortable questions, and are knowledgeable about the dynamic projections of our coming climate and its implications. We need people who can help us prepare for the next Harvey while also offering insights on how to reduce the number, frequency, and scale of the future sons and daughters of Harvey.

At its core a climate council is really about vulnerability assessment and risk management. They are trying to save lives and minimize future property, infrastructure, and economic loss.

Disbanding the climate council does not make climate change in all its various forms go away. It just makes us more unprepared. And that is a risk we should not accept.


29 August 2017



2 – document/p1







Earth Overshoot Day is Here Again!

Happy August 2nd, 2017, the earliest Earth Overshoot Day Ever.

This year, humanity has been able to exceed the bio-capacity of the Earth 6 days earlier than it did last year and 11 days earlier than 2015. I am well aware that many of us get anxious about big events. Sometimes we want them to come sooner because we want to enjoy them. Sometimes we want them to come simply so we can get past them. Earth Overshoot Day should never fall into either category!

In fact, Earth Overshoot Day1 is one of those days that should never happen.

We all actively, if unknowingly, participate in creating Earth Overshoot Day. We generate Earth Overshoot Day through our collective, cumulative and continuous generation of waste and pollution, as well as our financial support of disposable objects, “non-repairable” technology, excessive packaging, extensive shipping and over harvesting of resources. Coupling those activities with our unawareness or insensitivity to the implications and scale of how things are made, grown, manufactured, used and disposed creates a formula for accelerating the arrival of Earth Overshoot Day.

The long-term concern regarding Earth Overshoot Day is that every year we overshoot the bio-capacity of the planet is a year in which we reduce the ability, robustness, resilience, and bio-capacity of the Earth to support our species.   The earlier Earth Overshoot Day arrives, the more risk we put on our long-term survival.

If we use the common estimates for population growth and species loss, we will add 80 million people2 while loosing 54,750 species3 in the next 365 days. That is a rapid annual increase in need/demand while suffering a major loss in biological resources.  Unless we actively engage in reconceptualizing and redesigning how humanity could/can positively interact with and support/enhance the regenerative bio-capacity of the planet, Earth Overshoot Day will continue to come earlier and earlier – putting us at ever increasing risk.

Earth Overshoot Day is not really a measure of planetary health and happiness. Instead it is a measure of how well we are getting along with the planet. It is a measure of whether or not we are acting in a way that supports the continuation of our civilization. If there are no Earth Overshoot Days, then we are supporting the mechanism and systems that promote our continuation. If there are Earth Overshoot Days, then we are not. This year’s record early Earth Overshoot Day indicates that we are not saving ourselves from ourselves. And that has to stop.

We need to roll back the calendar on Earth Overshoot Day. Right now we are using 20 months of Earth bio-capacity per year. At a minimum we need to match demand with capability and thrive on 12 months of bio-capacity per year. If we want to repair the harm done by this and previous Earth Overshoot Days, then we will need to prosper on 11 months of bio-capacity per year until we make the system whole again. These changes are not as daunting as they seem. Currently 60% of our ecological footprint goes to absorbing Carbon pollution1.   Getting rid of pollution and utilizing waste as a resource does most of the restoration for us. When we not only remember that all things are connected, but act in a way that supports the connections, we can say good-by to Earth Overshoot Day. And that would be a day worth celebrating.


Tim Rumage


2 – growthrate



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