On 29 July, we will sadly reach the Earth Overshoot Day, alternatively also known as Ecological Debt Day. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we, the human population of earth, have exploited more natural resources than what the Earth can generate per year. This means that after this exact day till the end of the year we, all the inhabitants of this very planet, are maintaining our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Today, the planet has a population of approximately 7.7 billion citizens, and it has been calculated that only one earth is not enough to sustain us. Reports show that the past five years have been the warmest ever recorded while the last 30 years carbon dioxide levels have risen approximately 23%. Moreover, the phenomenon of uncontrolled deforestation and overexploitation of natural resources has increased the appearance of extreme atmospheric events such as heat waves, excessive rain falls and droughts, which bring negative effects for wildlife, the environment and even the economy. For instance, South Africa has already started facing difficulties as 2018 was the third consecutive year of below-normal precipitation endangering a large number of plants. Consecutive bad years threaten to bankrupt agriculturists.
Over-consumption it has been characterised as the main reason of why Overshoot Day is earlier every year. A comparison with the past Earth Overshoot Days can simply confirm our inability to responsibly exploit natural resources and to successfully preserve our precious ecosystem.
Not all countries have an Overshoot Day as some of them are still using one earth, in terms of natural resources consumption. However, it has been noticed that in the developed parts of the world this day is always earlier than the year before, which means every year we get closer to the point where we face a real crisis.
Solutions for a sustainable future
The phenomenon of climate change is turning out to be worse than most projections. The release of the 2030 Agenda from the United Nations (17 Sustainable Development Goals) in combination with the WWF’s report named “Call to Action” that was released last year, are only a few efforts among many to tackle climate change, enhance the protection of our natural world and reinforce sustainable development. Increased awareness of environmental issues has already led more than 80,000 people to sign petitions to US and EU decision makers to demand that a concrete plan in terms of biological resource management is at the centre of their agendas.
The need for cooperation among government agencies, intergovernmental organisations, nongovernmental organisation and the private sector, is therefore required to tackle the crisis. Broadly agreed and negotiated frameworks might be the key that we need for turning these negative trends to positive ones, while by moving the Ecological Debt Day 5 days every year, humanity will return to using one earth before 2050.
amfori can help you reduce your ecological footprint, learn more about what we do to support you in this journey.