Human beings have used up their yearly allowance of resources such as water, soil and clean air in a record 212 days. Our insatiable appetite for the planet’s most precious resources means Earth Overshoot Day – which marks the point at which consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate – has moved forward two days to 1 August, the earliest date ever recorded.
To match our current consumption of resources, we would need the equivalent of 1.7 earths, according to Global Footprint Network GFN, an international research organisation that makes a yearly calculation of how far humanity is falling into ecological debt.
Earth Overshoot Day began in the 1970s when growing populations and increased demand edged consumption over a sustainable level. Thirty years ago, the date was 15 October and in 1970, the first year it was tracked, the day fell on 29 December. Following recent trends 2019 could mark the first-time humanity busts resources by July.
The consequences for surpassing the planet’s ecological budget are profound. With heatwaves from the Middle East to Russia continuing unabated, the insidious effects of climate change are making themselves increasingly well known. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has said these unrelenting temperatures are at odds with a global cyclical climate phenomenon called La Niña, which is usually associated with cooling.
Other effects of the ecological overindulgence include biodiversity loss, deforestation, soil erosion, collapsing fisheries, fresh water scarcity and an increased likelihood of natural disasters.
How we can #MoveTheDate toward sustainability
While our planet’s resources are finite, human possibilities are not. The problem is not insurmountable and the opportunity to ameliorate the situation remains. The Planet Mark™ is joining GFN today to call on governments, businesses and people to do more to meet our ecological obligations to our precious planet.
If you are an organisation, the first thing you should be doing is measuring and reporting your carbon footprint. Once you’ve done that you need to set targets to help reduce your carbon footprint. We recommend you set annual targets. If you don’t know how to measure and report your carbon we’ve created our Beginners Guide to Carbon Footprinting to help you get started.
If you are individual, GFN has created a user friendly online footprint calculator that will give you a good idea of the size of your footprint and where your biggest impacts are.
For more information about Earth Overshoot Day and how you can play your part visit the website.
For more information about The Planet Mark™ and how to cut your organisation’s carbon footprint please visit The Planet Mark™ website or contact us directly.
By ThePlanetMark Sunday, July 29, 2018