Earth Overshoot Day falls on earliest date since 1970

August 1st, 2018

Earth Overshoot Day falls today to mark the fact that humanity consumed nature’s entire annual ecological budget in just seven months.

 Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

This is the earlier date that EOD has fallen on since the first overshoot day on 29 December 1970. The day is since getting closer and last year it took place on 3 August.

According to calculations by the EOD project partners, Ireland’s own individual overshoot day fell way back on 11 May. A country’s overshoot day is the date on which Earth Overshoot Day would fall if all of humanity consumed like the people in this country.

More carbon has been emitted than the forests and oceans can absorb according to the international research organization, Global Footprint Network (GFN), which recommend that we urgently reduce our carbon footprint.

The carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas produced to support human activities. Sixty per cent of humanity’s ecological footprint comes from its carbon footprint, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A “significant increase” in climate action is essential to end resource overuse and to respect the Paris Agreement to keep global warming under 2 degrees below pre-industrial levels, the UNFCCC said in a statement today.

The month of July has put the planet on fire and achieving this agreement is “crucial” to avoid further intense heatwaves and floodings, it warned. The ecological overspending could also create famines and lead people to migrate.

“We are using the Earth’s future resources to operate in the present and digging ourselves deeper into ecological debt,” said Mathis Wackernagel. CEO of Global Footprint Network.

“Today may seem no different from yesterday. But fires are raging in the Western United States. Residents in Cape Town have had to slash water consumption in half since 2015. These are consequences of busting the ecological budget of our one and only planet,” he said.

Yet, there are some encouraging signs. The individual ecological footprints in high-income countries reduced by 12.9 percent since 2000 and by 16.6 percent in the United-Kingdom.

#EarthOvershootDay

The EarthOvershootDay hashtag was trending on social media across the world today. GFN held live broadcasts with several leading ecologists such as the former climate chief of the UN Christiana Figueres, the cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg and the French minister of ecological transition Nicolas Hulot.

World Wildlife Fund Europe published a short video inviting people to reduce their consumption. “If everyone committed to move the date by five days each year, we could get out of global overshoot by 2050,” they said.

Carbon Disclosure Project whose aim is to disclose the environmental impact of major corporations said that it was “time to scale and accelerate action to build a sustainable economy.”

https://twitter.com/Ecosia/status/1024563419347918848

Ecosia, a web search engine donating the majority of its profits for tree planting, encouraged people to do internet research with it to lower carbon emissions.

You can calculate your own ecological footprint with GFN: http://www.footprintcalculator.org/

About the Author

Charline Fernandez

Charline is French and an MA journalism student at DCU. She has an interest in the environment, animals rights and rock music.

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