Overshoot Day — Why is it Important?

badAir.png_200x300Overshoot Day August 13, 2015

August 13th was an important day for the environment.  It was the “overshoot day”.  The “overshoot day” is the point when humanity’s demand on renewable natural resources exceeds the annual supply that our planet can regenerate.  More simply, it’s the date humanity has spent our planet’s budget for the entire year.  It is an ecological deficit. 

Ecological Debt Day/Overshoot Day

According to Wikipedia, Ecological Debt Day (EDD), also known as Earth Overshoot Day, is the calculated illustrative calendar date on which humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year. Ecological Debt Day is calculated by dividing the world biocapacity (the amount of natural resources generated by Earth that year), by the world Ecological Footprint (humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in one Gregorian common calendar year:

With more than four months still left to go in 2015, humans already have spent all of the resources Earth produces to sustain us for the year, according to the latest in a series of annual reports on the demands the world’s population makes on the planet.

   The Depletion of Earth’s life-Supporting Capital         

The day is the creation of the Global Footprint Network, which says that from this day forward in 2015, “we are drawing down the planet’s principal rather than living off its annual interest. This overshoot leads to a depletion of Earth’s life-supporting natural capital and a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

The group estimates that it takes the equivalent of 1.6 Earths to support the world’s population of more than 7 billion today, a number that’s expected to grow to more than 9 billion by 2050, and up to 13.3 billion by 2100. If current trends in population growth and resource use continue, we’ll need two Earths to meet the needs of the world’s population every year, rather than just the one we actually have.

Key to reversing the trend are reducing carbon emissions and changing the way the world’s cities are planned and developed, as well as changing to more sustainable forms of agriculture, including eating less meat and preserving the world’s fisheries.

“Small actions … make a big difference and all of us play an important role in creating a world where we live within our limits,” the WWF says.

Visit http://www.overshootday.org/ for a visual representation.