Earth Overshoot Day marks the date each year when we have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year.
This year Earth Overshoot Day is Wednesday 1st August, the earliest date in human history. Each year scientists at the Global Footprint Network calculate the date using our demand for available resources and services, compared with the Earth’s capacity to absorb our wastes. They then calculate the number of days of this year that Earth can provide for our global human Ecological Footprint within its natural limits.
The date is occurring earlier each year: last year it was August 3rd. For 2018, after 1st August we are using stocks of ecological resources and accumulating our waste for future generations to deal with. This happens through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb, for example.
For the rest of the year, we’re effectively in ecological deficit, since we can’t import more resources to the planet. By the end of the year, globally we will have used up the equivalent of 1.7 Earths. If we continue on this course Global Footprint Network data show that we would need two Earths by 2030 to keep up with our level of resource demand.
“Worryingly, the planet’s budget is now in deficit. But there are so many every day things we can do to use resources more efficiently, and help move that date forward,” says Kati Freeman, General Manager of Sustainable Taranaki.
“We want to congratulate all the Taranaki residents and organisations who are valuing Earth’s valuable resources and getting more use from the things we’ve already produced – the opshops, second hand boutiques, kids markets, tool hire companies, and organisations focused on environmental stewardship.”
Sustainable Taranaki believes that by reducing our use of resources we can live better quality lives and also save money, as well as having less of an ecological impact.
Here are some simple ways we can do this:
- Use less new resources, and make use of things that have already been produced from valuable resources.
- Buy good quality items that last, and look after them really well, maintaining them, getting them serviced and repairing or fixing them if they break down or get damaged, rather than automatically buying a replacement.
- Start sharing: loan a tool you don’t use often to your family, friends or neighbours, or hire something if you’re only going to use it once or twice a year. Most power drills are used for an average of 12 minutes across their lifetime, for example, so can easily be shared.
- Use resources more efficiently in our own households. A second car, for example, can be avoided by using the bus or biking or walking, which also saves thousands annually on household costs, as well as reducing your contribution to climate change.
- Buy things second hand. There are some great opshops, high end second hand clothes shops, buy and sell Facebook groups, Kids Markets and garage sales to support, or set up a clothes swap with friends.
- Get creative when giving presents. Choose to give experiences over things.
- Substitute shopping for fun with having satisfying experiences with friends and family in beautiful places.
- Buy products that have recycled content in them, like recycled content copy paper, which avoids new trees being cut down to make virgin paper.
“While these are simple steps to take, they all add up to helping reduce our ecological impact, and moving the date of our ecological overshoot globally,” encourages Freeman.
For more information about Earth Overshoot Day visit: https://www.overshootday.org/