– Global overuse occurs when humanity’s annual demand for goods and services – such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish or cotton for clothing – as well as the planet’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide, exceeding the Earth’s ecosystems can replenish within a year, says President Mathis Wackernagel Global Footprint Network to NRK.
The organization behind the project «Earth Overshoot Day», which shows the date when we humans have used resources that it takes more than a year to recover.
15 years ago was the date 1 October. This year, the date August 13 – six days earlier than last year.
– Demand now exceeds the planet’s regeneration by 62 percent. That means we really need 1.6 Earths to support our consumption during a year, says Wackernagel, who believe the number will be two planets by 2030 unless the trend turns.
Based on figures from the UN
Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by dividing the planet biokapasitet, ie the amount of ecological resources earth is able to generate in the course of a year, with humanity’s demand that year. This figure is multiplied by the number of days in the year.
– The calculations include statistics and data from the UN to make the results comparable worldwide, says Wackernagel.
He says that the aim of the project is to spread knowledge about human resource dependence and the need to carefully manage limited “nature budget” planet gears.
– This is a prerequisite for sustainable development. The goal for everyone is to live a good life, but this must happen within the limits of our planet.
– Living on borrowed time
Professor Dag Olav Hessen at the department of aquatic biology and toxicology at the University of Oslo (UiO) believe today we are living on borrowed time.
– It’s like finance its debt by taking up more and more new loans. It goes for a while but are not smart in the long term, he said.
He also believes there is a limit to how long one can live on our future resources.
– Climate change is here already and affecting food production including ours. When we then become more and more people on the planet, it goes without saying that the math does not go up.
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– Not To Late
Earth Overshoot Day has 40 partners in various countries – including WWF. Nina Jensen of WWF Norway believes we are currently in the process of eating up the planet we live on, and think we are trying to steer towards ecological collapse.
She also thinks it is not too late to reverse the trend.
– Industry, agriculture and fisheries must be operated in a smarter way than today. We must also stop throwing so much of the resources we harvest from nature, and we need to solve the climate issue, which is a key part of this, says Jensen.
Thursday, August 13, is Earth Overshoot Day, when resource use is expected to outstrip the capacity for production—and it’s getting earlier every year.