Earth overshoot day [infographic]

Last Monday marked a pity event: Earth’s population reached so-called ‘Earth Overshoot Day’. This is the moment when our demand for natural resources exceeds the regenerative capacities of the planet who replenish them. In a way, we are now biting into our planet’s savings account for the rest of the year. With the current population and its living standard, we actually need 1.6 planets to support us.

But not all countries are to blame. Living like an Aussie or a Congolese is a whole world of difference. Some countries also just happen to be lucky with a wealth of natural resources. One thing is very clear though: everyone should take a moment to (re-) consider their lifestyle. At the current rate, it goes into the wrong direction. Totally the wrong direction. To understand the concept of Earth Overshoot Day a bit better, I spent a decent amount of hours putting together a nice infographic (what else would I have done on a rainy Belgian summer day, you know). Enjoy, and please share if you like it!

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The ABC of climate change: Deforestation

Deforestation is the process whereby natural forests are cleared through logging and/or burning, either to use the timber or to replace the area for alternative uses such as agriculture or urbanisation. The FAO estimates 12-15 million hectares of forest are lost each year, the equivalent of 36 football fields per minute.

TIP: if you’re in a hurry, you find a summarizing infographic at the end of this post

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De Ceuvel: sustainable urban development and cleantech playground

  • metabolic lab workshop room
    One of the workshop rooms at de Ceuvel (photo: Metabolism)
  • artist impression
    Artist impression of the Ceuvel before its realisation (courtesy: space&matter)
  • cafe de ceuvel
    De Ceuvel cafe is cosy-with-a-hippy-touch (photo: Metabolism)
  • De Ceuvel material flows
    Nothing is lost at de Ceuvel: water and waste streams are recovered (photo: Metabolism)
  • De-Ceuvel
    De Ceuvel seen from the water side
  • during construction
    During construction, old houseboats were hauled onshore and refubished (photo: Metabolism)
  • greenhouse
    In the aquaponic greenhouse, human waste is used as fertiliser (photo: Metabolism)

As an energy engineering student, I come across a lot of inventions that are about to save the world. At least, if they would ever get further than their inventor’s desk. Sometimes low-tech solutions can have a way bigger impact, simply because they happen. Urban development site de Ceuvel in the up-and-coming Amsterdam Noord area is a gem that exemplifies exactly what I’m talking about.

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Brexit and its impact on the climate

Skitterphoto

Thursday the 23rd of June 2016 will be remembered as a historical day. In a referendum, the Brits voted to leave the European Union –or at least 52% did. For the first time since the six founding members kick-started the European project for economic collaboration and peace building in 1958, a member state leaves the family.

The result sent shock waves through the world. A lot has been said and written and one thing is very clear: the United in United Kingdom is at an all-time low. The impacts of the Brexit on the climate have mainly stayed under the radar. I’ll do my best to present you some food for thought.

photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

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Civil disobedience in 2016: the war on fossil fuels has begun

photo: Eamon Ryan

Three weeks after the official signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement in the U.N. headquarters in New York, 177 countries have signed the document agreed upon during COP 21 in Paris last year. As I explained in more detail in a previous post, the agreement will only take force when 55 of the countries effectively adopt it in their national parliament. Currently we’re stuck at 16 — covering a dreadful 0.04% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Time to raise the pressure on policy makers. Under the banner of Break Free, climate activists around the world have opened the war on fossil fuels. During 12 days in May, civil disobedience actions target some of the world’s most polluting and dangerous fossil fuel projects.

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