Earth Overshoot Day 2020: Year’s resource ‘budget’ burnt though THIS WEEK – ‘A disaster’

The human race will devour all the natural resources Earth is able to replenish this year by Saturday, August 22. The concerning conclusion was calculated by environmental researchers at the Global Footprint Network.

The unwelcome achievement is a little later than last year after the coronavirus pandemic slowed soaring overconsumption.

It’s not done by design, it’s done by disaster

Mathis Wackernagel

Earth Overshoot Day has crept ever-earlier since the 1970s.

COVID-19 lockdowns temporary declined emissions and wood harvesting, and reduced humanity’s environmental footprint by 9.3 percent compared to last year.

However, Mathis Wackernagel, Global Footprint Network president, said this is not something to celebrate.

He said: ”It’s not done by design, it’s done by disaster.”

He added the date humanity overshoots its planetary budget is pinpointed by examining human demand for food and energy, as well as the space for houses and roads and what is needed to absorb global CO2 emissions.

Comparing that with what is sustainably available, the researchers revealed the human race is using 60 percent more than can be renewed.

If the whole world consumed like the US, Overshoot Day would have been hit by March 14.

Mr Wackernagel added: ”It’s like with money. We can spend more than what we earned, but not forever.’

The coronavirus pandemic was responsible for a 14.5 percent drop in our species’ carbon footprint compared to last year.

And forest products witnessed an 8.4 percent fall, due to smaller harvests anticipating slowing demand.

The environmental campaigners believe attempts to control the coronavirus prove changing consumption habits in a short time frame is possible.

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Global Footprint Network added the overshoot date is “an unprecedented opportunity to reflect on the future we want”.

Marco Lambertini, head of World Wide Fund for Nature, said the pandemic had brought into focus “our unsustainable, wasteful, destructive frankly, relationship with nature.”

He added: “We can develop, but not at the expense of the planet because we know that the planet in crisis is a society in crisis, and an economy in crisis.”

However, although the campaigners’ attention-grabbing approach has been praised, not all experts are on board.

Robert Richardson, an ecological economist at Michigan State University, has raised several issues with Global Footprint Network’s methodology.

This includes the fact it doesn’t distinguish between sustainable and unsustainable uses of crop and grazing land.

And it also fails to account for other means of carbon sequestration, like ocean and soil.

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