Earliest ever earth overshoot day
Sustainable Population Australia has voiced great concern that Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) is occurring three days earlier than last year. In 2019, it is 29 July, the earliest ever.
According to the Global Footprint Network, EOD marks the date when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth’s ecosystems can regenerate in that year. In 1971, it fell on 21st December, but now we use those same services the earth provides inside the first seven months of the year.
SPA National President, Sandra Kanck, says this means humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate, equivalent to 1.75 Earths.
“We are in a situation of overshoot, which by definition is unsustainable in the long term. Overshoot is possible only because we are depleting our natural capital, and that compromises the planet’s future regenerative capacity,” she says.
“The #MoveTheDate campaign offers five solutions for moving the date to year’s end – when only one planet would be needed.”
“These include replacing one third of car miles with public transportation; halving the carbon component of humanity’s ecological footprint, including phasing out fossil fuels well before 2050; replacing global meat consumption by 50 per cent and replacing these calories through a vegetarian diet; and reforesting 350 million hectares of forest.
“Reforestation of tropical forests and mangroves has the triple benefit of increasing biodiversity, sequestering carbon dioxide, and acting as flood barriers during hurricanes for coastal urban areas in the tropics and sub tropics,” says Ms Kanck.
“Finally, but by no means least, there is population. The more of us there are, the less planet there is per person. If the average family size is half-a-child smaller in the future, i.e. if every second family has on average one child less, there will be one billion fewer of us in the world than the 9.7 billion that the UN expects by 2050 – and four billion fewer by the end of the century.
“Clearly, an EOD any earlier than December 31 is not sustainable in the long term. We must pull a number of levers to get it back there, and ending population growth is a critical one.”