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 1st August Earth Overshoot Day 

Date of Publish - Wednesday, 1st August 2018
igniting_minds


Today is Earth Overshoot Day. That means we have used up nature s resource budget for the entire year in only 212 days! August 1st is the earliest Earth Overshoot Day since the world went into ecological overshoot in the 1970s. Our collective appetite for the planet s resources has increased in volumes, exhausting a year's supplies in just 7 months, a new low record. In other words, we are currently using resources much faster than our planet s ecosystems can regenerate and we need about 1.7 Earths to sustain this demand.

To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network, an international research organization, calculates the number of days of that year that Earth s bio-capacity suffices to provide for humanity s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot. Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet s bio-capacity or the amount of ecological resources Earth can generate that year, by humanity s Ecological Footprint, which is humanity s collective demand for that year, and multiplying by the number of days in the year.

The concept of Earth Overshoot Day was first conceived by Andrew Simms of the UK think tank New Economics Foundation, which partnered with Global Footprint Network in 2006 to launch the first global Earth Overshoot Day campaign. When the first overshoot calculation was announced, it found that Earth used a year's worth of resources by Oct. 9, 2006.

The day of reckoning, calculated back, is moving nearer, and Earth Overshoot Day has happened progressively earlier in the year. Thirty years back the day would have been October 15. A decade later, the mark was reached on September 30 and 10 years back, on 15 August. After a brief slowdown, the pace has picked up in the past two years, and next year we could reach Earth Overshoot Day in the month of July.

The Earth Overshoot Day is determined by using Ecological Footprint accounting, with the Global Footprint Network analyzing data from the United Nations, the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, among others. The calculation of a population demand for and ecosystems supply of resources and services serve as the foundation for calculating Earth Overshoot Day.

The data also calculates how many countries like their own are required by each nation to meet the demands of its citizenry. South Korea tops the list, needing 8.5 more countries like itself, followed by Japan with 7.8 countries. India requires 2.5 countries, marginally ahead of the Americans. Although 86% of the world's population lives in a country with an ecological deficit, the latest national Ecological Footprint data reveals some encouraging signs for moving back Earth Overshoot Day.

The Global Footprint Network has identified four solution areas with the most potential to address ecological overshoot: cities, energy, food and population. Research by the group has indicated that political action is far more effective than individual choices to move the overshoot date.

In the case of cities, transportation is the key. A 50% reduction in driving in cities around the world, with the one-third replacement of car miles with public transportation and the rest by walking and biking, can move back the Earth Overshoot Day back by 12 days. In the energy sector, transition to renewables and reducing the carbon component of humanity s Ecological Footprint by 50% would move back the overshoot by 93 days. Efficiency improvements in building and industry could make a difference of three weeks.

If everyone in the world cut food waste in half, reduced the Footprint intensity of their diets and consumed world-average calories, the overshoot date can be moved back by 38 days. Replacing 50% of meat consumption with a vegetarian diet would push back the overshoot date by 5 days. The population is a key factor, and if every other family in the world had one less child, the Earth Overshoot Day can be pushed back by 30 days by the year 2050.

On EARTH OVERSHOOT DAY, let s rededicate ourselves to the cause of restoring the green cover and place India at the center of a NEW GREEN REVOLUTION. The response to the Hara Hai Toh, Bhara Hai Green Challenge initiated by Igniting Minds in association with Walk For Water has been phenomenal. Two million saplings have been planted in just 15 days, leveraging the power of social media for a greener India. Originally conceived as a tribute to Bharat Ratna Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on his 3rd death anniversary, the campaign is now focused to reach the magical figure of 100 million saplings planted by October 15, the birthday of the popular president who dreamt of a developed India by 2020.

Author :
Rituraj Phukan

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