Oakland – It is only August and humanity has already used a year’s worth of natural resources. According to the Global Footprint Network, August 13th 2015 was marked as “Earth Overshoot Day”, which is the date our consumption outgrows Earth’s natural resources.
“In less than eight months, humanity has used up nature’s budget for the entire year, with carbon sequestration making up more than half of the demand on nature, according to data from Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability think tank with offices in North America, Europe and Asia,” said the report.
Global Footprint Network, founded in 2003, measures humanity’s demand on the planet in comparison to nature’s ability to provide for the demand. The Earth Overshoot Day determines the date when humanity’s annual demand on natural resources exceed what Earth can provide in that year.
To determine the exact day, researchers calculate the number of productive biological across all around the globe. This areas absorb the damaging actions done by humans to the environment, such as the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The experts then estimated the amount of land that humanity would need to make up for the harmful actions. The result is Earth Overshoot Day which is the day when human demand exceed the planet’s ability to absorb it.
According to the study, humans would require 1.6 planet Earths to satisfy their 12 month demand.
“We look at all the resource demands of humanity that compete for space, like food, fiber, timber, et cetera, then we look at how much area is needed to provide those services and how much productive surface is available,” said Mathis Wackernagel, president of the Global Footprint Network.
The largest contributor to human ecological damage are carbon emissions. While they continue to grow, humanity will continue to destroy all the natural resources that absorb carbon. That is why, international effort to control climate change have focused on reducing carbon emissions. The team from Global Footprint Network said there was still hope in the form of a U.N. climate agreement that will be negotiated later this year. The agreement is expected to call for keeping warming within 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over pre-Industrial Revolution levels, something the group says would require nations to completely phase out fossil fuels by 2070.
Other great solution, the group said, would be to make agricultural technology more efficient and encourage the growth of renewables such as solar and wind. For example, Denmark has cut its emissions 33% in the past twenty years. The team explained it was possible that countries could make double-digit reductions in their emissions by 2030 per the recommendations of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
You can navigate Earth Overshoot Day 2015 campaign here.
Source: Global Footprint Network