Today is the day!
The 1st of August 2018 is the day. It’s Earth Overshoot Day. Not something to be proud of… We’re asking more of nature than it can provide us, for the rest of 2018. So, from this day on we’ll build up ‘debt’ towards our planet. You could see it as paying our bills with the use of an ‘ecological credit card’. And the future generations will need to pay off these debts if nothing changes.
The Global Footprint Network (GFN) calculates the influence we, as humans, have on our planet Earth. GFN is an independent, non-profit organization, founded back in 2003. The company compares the natural production capacity (the bio-capacity) with the ability to absorb the waste, per country. Bio-what? Think about the following examples: the total amount hectares of agriculture or access to fishing water per country, energy consumption or CO2-emission per country, and so forth. The website has an open data platform where you can discover if your country is an ecological creditor- or debtor.
It’s getting crowded here!
At the beginning of the 1960s, the world population only used three-quarters of the world bio-capacity to foresee its needs. Keep in mind there were 3.0 billion peoples on this planet back then. As the years progressed the world population grew tremendously. Today, we’re together with 7.4 billion other inhabitants! The world population has almost gone times 2.5 since the 1960s! Due to the rapid growth of the human population; we crossed the line for the need of more than one planet at the end of the 1970s.
Earth Overshoot Day falls on the 213th day of the year. With a total of 365, days in 2018, this means we’ll need an additional 0.71 planet Earth to supply our needs for the rest of 2018. The graph below shows the correlation between the previous years and the needs for extra ‘Earths’. When extrapolating the data, we’ll need two planets by 2030! Elon, hurry up! We Need to colonize Mars fast (;
What to do…
These numbers are rather depressing, don’t you think? But do not keep your head down just yet! At first, the mathematical models at GFN indicated that humanity would need 3 planets before 2050. But, the models do not seem to be valid anymore: we’re slowly getting towards a greener future!
Over the last few years, a rapid growth of the use of sustainable resources has been observed. Countries are more and more switching towards energy generated by solar- or wind power. Also, more awareness is being created about the effects of deforestation, loss of biodiversity and water shortages; due to the change of the climate. Furthermore, the birth rate is slowly decreasing worldwide. This leads to lesser ecological footprints. When combining more sustainable solutions with the decreasing trend of birthrate it will eventually lead to a stabilization of the overshoot! Let’s all work for an Earth Overshoot Day later in the year of 2019!
The website of GFN has launched another calculator where you can globally estimate your own ecological footprint! How many planets are needed if everyone lived like you? I still got a score of 2.4 Earths, so I need to work on my game!