Friday brought some ominous news to the media’s attention: according to Global Footprint Network, a sustainability think tank, planet Earth has crossed a dangerous threshold into the ecological red.
This year’s Earth Overshoot Day happened on August 14, marking the day when the Earth’s natural capital that can be generated over the course of a year is officially depleted. But when it comes to the meaning of this assessment fir the humanity – and the environment – the news are that encouraging.
Environmentalists define overshoot as the processes that exhaust the planet of its natural resources and facilitate an enormous accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The GFN explains this accumulation is mostly visible in the environment through droughts, deforestation, pollution and scarcity of fresh water, destruction of biodiversity and soil erosion.
The end results of encouraging such degenerative conditions is drastic ecological spending, and this is where Overshoot Day comes into play so as remind us of the dire need of implementing greener solutions. Unless something changes, natural resources will soon plummet to dangerous levels.
According to GFN estimations, the needs of the current population living on this planet could be satisfied with the resources of 1.6 Earths. The first reliable statistics on this matter where provided by the UN in 1961, and early 1970s already brought upon us global overshoot due to the ever-growing demand for resources.
In a stark comparison with this year’s occurrence of Earth Overshoot Day in August, the fatidic day was marked in 2000 in October, which only goes to show how rapidly humanity’s demands on the planet’s finite natural resources are expanding.
Mathis Wackernagel, head of the GFN, and Marco Lambertini, director general of the World Wide Fund for Nature International, wrote about the seriousness of the matter, urging concerned authorities to act on these changes. The longer we wait to reshape the way we use our resources, the harder it will be to reverse the damage on the environment.
Great concern also comes from the globe’s ever-growing population, which is expected to reach 11 billion by the end of the century, according to a recent UN report. Influent figures need to consider whether or not the Earth can sustain such a strain, because predictions show that, by 2030, the planet’s population will exhaust the resources of two planets. At the same time, GFN warns that Earth Overshoot Day will occur even earlier, moving up to the end of June.
Image Source: Tree Hugger