August 20, 2018

What Today's Earth Overshoot Day Means for Humanity and our Planet

02 August 2018, 04:20 | Edward Lowe

Ahead of this year's Earth Overshoot Day, Global Footprint Network CEO Mathis Wackernagel did not hold back, saying: "Our economies are running a Ponzi scheme with our planet".

In order to determine the date of an Earth overshoot day the Global Footprint Network, an worldwide think tank, calculates the number of days that Earth's biocapacity - the ability to renew what people use - can support humanity's ecological footprint. This year, Overshoot Day came the earliest since 1970, when calculations began, namely on August 1st.

"Operating in this reality requires creativity and innovation, and companies must rise to the challenge by looking at how to manage natural resources differently, how to measure them more accurately, and how to develop products and processes that use them more efficiently", said Susan Uthayakumar, President, Schneider Electric Canada.

Experts have warned that humanity has used up all of the food, timber and other natural products that the Earth can sustainably provide for a year in the past seven months.

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The number gets multiplied by 365 to determine how many days Earth's resources will last at humanity's current rates of consumption. In other words, we are living beyond our means.

There are things that we can do to prevent the date from moving backwards every year, as detailed on the Earth Overshoot Day official website. According to the report, it takes 14 times as much land to produce a ton of beef as it takes to produce a ton of grain.

"These are the consequences of busting the ecological budget of our one and only planet".

Carbon levels, which rise due to human activities like fossil fuel burning and deforestation, make up 60% of the ecological footprint.

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The first one is to decrease the use of automobiles by 50 percent and the total traveled distance by 30 percent.

The day has shown a trend for appearing earlier and earlier since its inception - and today marks its earliest recorded point.

In the United States, fire seasons in California have been getting progressively worse, largely due to climate change and droughts.

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