Demands on natural resources have exceeded available resources
This year, Earth Overshoot Day fell on 8 August 2016. On that day, the world would have used up its allocated resources for the entire year, so that any further usage on natural resources would exceed what it could regenerate for that year.
This date has been arrived at based on data from the Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation. The result is a drop from the previous year's date of August 13th, signifying our growing load on the planet’s reserves.
“Once again, the global balance has slipped into the negative, and this is not the first time. For more than 30 years, we have been accumulating this global deficit,” said WWF Germany’s Managing Director Eberhard Brandes in German.
“We must find a way to live and work within the natural limits of our planet. This is the greatest challenge of our time. If we do not meet this challenge, our children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences,” he added.
At the same time, Brandes warned of petty issues that might arise when dealing with sustainability and environmental protection. As climate change is not restricted by national borders, no country can avoid the effects of water shortages, species extinction and pollution. According to him, only with a reduction in our ecological footprint could we ensure a high level of economic prosperity for our children and grandchildren. He said that the major industrial nations should take the lead in bringing about the changes that were urgently needed. “The facts are on the table, the goals have been clearly defined by the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris climate agreement. Now, it's time to act,” he said.
According to the WWF, Germany’s ecological footprint has reached dangerously high levels in the past ten years. Germans use more than twice as much resources as they would be allocated yearly. Thus, the country needs to readjust their usage in the areas of agriculture and transport, and safeguard conservation areas more effectively. Of particular importance is the constant implementation of energy transition and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the electricity sector.
Humans will need the resources of two planets by 2030
The origins of Earth Overshoot Day dates back to the concept of the ecological footprint, which illustrates how much land is required to sustain humanity’s use of natural resources. Since 1970, carbon dioxide emissions have more than doubled. Based on the Living Planet Index, there has been a 52 percent loss of biodiversity in the past four decades. And on average, the population of mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and fish have been halved.
If people do not change their lifestyles, we would need the resources of two planets by 2030 to sustain our demands for food and renewable raw materials. And twenty years after that, in 2050, we would require three planets. This is a far cry from the year 1960, when we used up only two-thirds of the world’s resources.
More information: www.wwf.de