The Earth Overshoot day is a date marking the time when we have consumed more from nature than our Planet can renew in a year. In 2018, this date fell on August 1- the earliest date ever recorded. According to Footprint Network to maintain the appetite that we have now we will need the equivalent to 1.7 Earths. This is due to our habit of “over-doing”: over-fishing, over-harvesting forests, over-consuming, emitting more carbon dioxide than the nature can absorb etc.
The overshoot began approximately 48 years ago in the 1970s. It was at this decade when humanity saw a rising population and the grow of average demand that went beyond a sustainable level. “The day of Reckoning is moving nearer”- Mathis Wackernagel, chief executive and co-founder of Global Footprint Network. He also added that we are running a Ponzi scheme borrowing nature’s future resources to operate our present economy. Like any Ponzi scheme this works for a while but further you go in debt, harder it is “to stay out of trouble”. According to the research done by the group, the situation is still at a reversible stage though political action has heavier weight than individual one.
4 major areas exist to improve sustainability: food, cities, energy and population. Replacing 50% of the meat consumption with vegetarian diet will push the overshoot day 5 days back. Sourcing food locally and avoiding highly processed products can decrease the Ecological Footprint. By 2050 80% of the population will be living in cities. To balance the supply of natural capital and the population’s demand, city planning and urban development should be taken very seriously not only from a comfort point of view but a sustainable one too.
The Planet’s renewable resources aren’t endless and with the rising demand of the population, they are becoming non renewable. Decarbonising the economy is one of the solutions. Small families are a solution to Earth’s over-population problem. UN have included this point into their Sustainable Development Goals, they are investing into small families by empowering women and aiming to reach equal sexual rights.
Knowing that humanity still has a chance at reversing the irreversible is definitely an optimistic argument but fact stated the Earth is exhausted. #MovetheDate is a hashtag being used on social media to raise awareness and let people know that every step counts in pushing back the end of the world. After all, there is no Planet B.