Today, May 14th, is the Overshoot Day in Italy, the ninth country for excess of consumption of natural resources. Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceed what Earth can regenerate in that year. It is calculated for each country and for the whole world. Every year, this disturbing deadline seems to come sooner and sooner, as the future of the human race gets darker and darker. Currently, according to the Global Footprint Network, the world population is consuming the equivalent of 1.6 planets per year, this figure should rise to 2 planets by 2030, according to current trends. The planet we have available to us, however, is only one. Humanity began to consume more than the Earth produced in the early 1970s, and since then the day on which the limit is exceeded always comes sooner (in 1975 it was 28 November), due to the growth in world population and the expansion of consumption throughout the world.
The Overshoot day does not stop its unstoppable race and in 2019 arrives sooner than ever: 29 July. In 2018 the Overshoot day was August 1 and since then the world's population has started using resources that the planet will no longer be able to regenerate.
The trend does not change, in 2017 the so-called "Day of Overcoming the Earth" falls on August 2, never so early since the early 1970s, when we started abusing natural resources.
In 2016 our debt started on 8 August, more than four and a half months before the end of the year. Due to the constant increase in the world population and the bulimia of resources typical of our species, we consume natural capital in a shorter time than in the past.
In 2015 we exhausted the "budget" offered by nature, and therefore began to take precious natural resources from those who will come after us, on August 13, while in 2014 the point of no return had been triggered on August 19.
The date is calculated by comparing humanity's needs, in terms of carbon emissions, cultivated land, exploitation of fish stocks, and use of forests for timber, with the planet's ability to regenerate these resources and absorb the carbon emitted. The main problem is that, despite the obvious environmental deficit, we are not taking measures to move in the right direction.
Stopping the misappropriation of wealth belonging to future generations would not only be desirable but is feasible with current available technology and is also economically advantageous, since the overall benefits outweigh the costs. Emerging sectors such as renewable energy can be stimulated, reducing the risks and costs associated with futureless entrepreneurial sectors based on old and polluting technologies. Many countries have taken steps, disinvesting from fossil fuels to focus on clean energy and committing to reducing meat consumption, the production of which has a terrible environmental impact.
In order to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries have stopped most of their activities, with a consequent reduction in environmental impact. It is not yet clear what effect this phase could have on the calculation of the Overshoot day. The Global Footprint Network is collecting data to understand this and will announce the date of the global Overshoot day on June 5, World Environment Day.
How many planets does it take to support your lifestyle?
Try the new Footprint Calculator at www.footprintcalculator.org to find out your Ecological Footprint and personal Earth Overshoot Day and learn about solutions to help us all tread more lightly on the Earth. (source: Global Footprint Network)
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