“Disaster, not design”- the reason behind a delayed Earth Overshoot Day.

“Disaster, not design”- the reason behind a delayed Earth Overshoot Day.

Today on 22nd August, we have used up all the biological resources that Earth can renew during the entire year.

It means that we have used up 1 year worth of biological resources in less than 9 months. If we continue to live this way, it will take us 1.6 planets to fulfill our demands.

Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by Global Footprint Network (GFN), an environmental research organization, which marks the moment in any given year where our demand exceeds what the Earth is able to offer. So from this date, this means that until the end of the year, the global economy is operating in “ecological deficit”.

Though the methodology used by GFN can be questioned, it cannot be denied that the initiative has value in its simplicity as a way of increasing awareness about the impacts of human activities on ecosystems and the planet.

“Everything we use puts a demand on nature in terms of space; the potato that takes space, I want milk from the cow, it takes space, to absorb the extra CO2 from burning fossil fuels takes space. All these things that take space we can add up and then we can compare how much is our demand compared to how much is available.”

Mathis Wackernagel, founder of GFN

This year’s Earth Overshoot Day arrived three weeks later than it did on 2019. In fact, Earth Overshoot Day has not been this late in the year since 2005. That’s a direct result of the coronavirus shutdowns, which reduced humanity’s ecological footprint by 9.3 percent, according to estimates from GFN researchers.

This year, the forest products footprint is down 8.4 percent, while the carbon footprint is down 14.5 percent.

Over the years, most Earth Overshoot Day has been pushed forward due to climate change and an increase in natural resources. Covid-19 has been one of the most profound events in living history – the  world literally stopped. And yet this only pushed back Earth Overshoot Day by three weeks.

“The fact that Earth Overshoot Day is later this year is a reflection of a lot of suffering, and the reflection of imposed changes to our lives.

One way or another, humanity will come into balance with the Earth. We don’t want it to be through disaster. We want it to be through intentional, designed efforts to make sure it doesn’t come at such a high and terrible human cost.”

Laurel Hanscom, GFN chief executive

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