Each year we dread to discover the date for that year’s Earth Overshoot Day also called Ecological Debt Day. This day marks the point in the year when we – humans - have used up more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. This means we – and all living things on earth – are having to live on credit from that day to the end of the year.
This summer, countries across the globe are reporting the highest temperatures ever recorded. Everywhere, water conservation measures are being announced to handle shortages. Forest fires, a result of the extreme droughts, are not only annihilating forests we cannot do without to mitigate global warming but are also demanding increasing numbers of human lives. Extreme weather events, such as droughts, heat waves and excessive rain falls impact nature, and therefore natural resources.
As for the previous years, 2018 again sees Earth Overshoot Day (1 August) arrive earlier than ever. Past Earth Overshoot Days, going back as early as 1969 when we still were only using 1 planet, clearly show our inability to put a stop to the excess ecological consumption.
Earth Overshoot Day is a global measurement. Each country, however, has its own Overshoot Day, many of which sadly fall even earlier in the year.
What can be done?
Global efforts, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, are crucial to drive solutions at all levels of human activity. They call upon individuals, business and societies alike to contribute in creating a more sustainable world. Driving responsible production and consumption, while tackling climate change.
The pivotal actors for success are governments, as representatives of the individuals, businesses and societies. Volatility in political structures are potentially threatening to progress, as shown by President Trump’s move to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement soon after his election. While it was encouraging to see other countries stepping in the void by increasing their commitment, as well as the response from many US businesses, states, cities and individuals in confirming their continued commitment to address climate change, the effect of governments’ changing commitments can be potentially devastating to the world’s future.
With the #MoveTheDate campaign, a series of personal pledges were launched to help to create a more sustainable future. Take the quiz and find out what is your ecological footprint and personal Overshoot Day.
Here’s what amfori does and what we can do to help.
Contact: Anouschka Jansen, Senior Manager - Environmental Programmes