Earth overshoot day – August 20 – even earlier this year.
Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has expressed concern that Earth Overshoot Day is two days earlier than last year (August 22) and two months earlier than 20 years ago (October 21).
The Global Footprint Network sets the date each year as the point at which humanity has consumed the equivalent of the year’s entire production of renewable resources and used up nature’s ability to absorb wastes such as carbon dioxide. For the rest of the year, the world is in ‘overshoot’.
SPA National President, Ms Jenny Goldie, says it is hardly surprising given the global population grew by over 80 million in one year and 1.6 billion in the past 20.
“In the mid-1970s, we crossed a critical threshold, when human consumption began outstripping what the planet could reproduce,” says Ms Goldie. “At that point we had fewer than five billion people. Now with 7.1 billion people, our demand for renewable ecological resources is equivalent to that of more than 1.5 Earths.”
Ms Goldie says most people understand that living off the interest from an investment is better than reducing the capital itself.
“Yet that is exactly what we will be doing for the rest of the year, living off the Earth’s capital. In short we are degrading the planet and fouling our own nest.”
Ms Goldie says that with nearly a billion hungry and over two billion poor in the world, an increase in resource consumption for them is necessary.
“But if they are to have a bit more, we in the industrialised world must consume a lot less. Population growth must end everywhere, however, otherwise there will be less and less for everyone, even if the resource pie is shared equitably.”
Further information: Jenny Goldie 0401 921 453