OAKLAND, Calif., July 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- On August 1, Earth Overshoot Day will mark the date when humanity's annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth's ecosystems can renew this whole year, according to Global Footprint Network, an international research organization. In other words, humanity is currently using nature 1.7 times faster than our planet's ecosystems can regenerate—or "using 1.7 Earths."
Global Footprint Network calculates Earth Overshoot Day every year using Ecological Footprint accounting, which adds up all of people's competing demands on productive land for food, timber, and fibers; absorption of carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels; and built infrastructure. August 1 is the earliest date since the world went into ecological overshoot in the 1970s.
The costs of this overspending include deforestation; collapsing fisheries; fresh-water scarcity; soil erosion; biodiversity loss; and the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to climate change and more severe droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes. These threats can produce desperation and force people to migrate to cities or other countries.
"As we mark Earth Overshoot Day, today may seem no different from yesterday—you still have the same food in your refrigerator," said Global Footprint Network CEO Mathis Wackernagel. "But fires are raging in the Western United States and in Cape Town, South Africa, residents have had to slash water consumption in half since 2015. These are consequences of busting the ecological budget of our one and only planet.
"Our economies are running a Ponzi scheme with our planet. We are using the Earth's future resources to operate in the present and digging ourselves deeper into ecological debt," Wackernagel continued. "It's time to leverage our creativity and ingenuity to create a prosperous future free of fossil fuels and planetary destruction."
Global Footprint Network and its partners will mark Earth Overshoot Day 2018 with several events, including:
- July 20 - August 3: In New York, a short video features stunning nature footage by award-winning cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg in Times Square twice an hour.
- July 24, 8 a.m. PDT/11 a.m. EST: Global Footprint Network and Schneider Electric will host a webinar titled "Living on a Finite Planet: Strategies for Sustainable Resource Utilization." Register at http://bit.ly/2KQrY1B.
- August 1st, 2 a.m. EST + 12 p.m. EST: The #MoveTheDate Live Stream on Facebook (www.facebook.com/GlobalFootprintNetwork) and YouTube will feature world-class guests, including Christiana Figueres, former climate chief of the UN; Erik Solheim, executive director of the UN Environment Programme; David Levine, CEO, American Sustainable Business Council; Carter Roberts, CEO, World Wildlife Fund US; Kathleen Rogers, President, Earth Day Network; Terry A'Hearn, CEO, Scottish Environment Protection Agency; Nicolas Hulot, French minister of ecological transition.
Data for Sustainability
Cities, energy, food and population are four solution areas which Global Footprint Network has identified with the most potential to address ecological overshoot. Individuals are invited to mark Earth Overshoot Day by calculating their Personal Overshoot Day and Ecological Footprint at www.footprintcalculator.org and taking a "Step to #MoveTheDate" at www.overshootday.org/steps-to-movethedate/.
Although 86% of the world's population lives in a country with an ecological deficit, the latest national Ecological Footprint data reveals some encouraging signs:
- The Ecological Footprint per person for high-income countries has declined 12.9% since 2000, including Singapore (-32.1%), the United States (-18.4%), and France (-15.5%).
- The Ecological Footprint of China, the country with the largest total Ecological Footprint, decreased 0.3% from 2013 to 2014 after a steady climb since 2000, when it was half as large as it is today. The decline stems in part from a decrease in China's total carbon Footprint by 0.7% and its per-person carbon Footprint by 1.2% from 2013 to 2014.
More info in the full press release: www.overshootday.org/newsroom/press-release-july-2018-english/
Global Footprint Network is changing how the world manages its natural resources and responds to climate change, through
- METRICS that are simple, meaningful, and scalable;
- ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS about natural resource consumption and capacity; and
- TOOLS and analysis to guide informed decisions.
SOURCE Global Footprint Network