Last Wednesday, the 2nd of August, was calculated as the Earth Overshoot Day (previously known as Ecological Debt Day), which is a specific point of the year when human overall consumption exceeds the capacity of Earth natural resources generated for that particular year. It means that from that day on we, as humans, live on ecological debt for the rest of the year. Of course, this is a debt which is (almost) impossible to pay.
This year the Earth Overshoot Day came one day earlier than last year, illustrating thus a trend which has existed for decades.
To calculate the exact date, the Global Footprint Network determines Earth´s biocapacity and divides this by the world ecological footprint we have made. The final date is then calculated by multiplying the quotient by number of the days of the year.
The key component for calculation of the Earth Overshoot Day is thus human consumption represented by the world ecological footprint. This is an ecological concept taking into account all human consumption of natural resources and converting it into the number of so called global hectares necessary for securing our needs. This can be calculated for individuals, cities, nations or the whole world. Based on this year’s calculations, current world population would need 1,7 planets to secure its needs for this year (at the current level of consumption).
You can calculate your individual ecological footprint here.
What can we do?
Simply put: we must practice responsible consumption and attempt to reduce our individual ecological footprint. Sometimes little things are enough – using public transport rather than a car, walking more often, turning off the lights, not producing unnecessery waste, or sourcing daily products locally and buying Fair Trade products.
Responsible consumption and production is one of the Sustainable Development Goals introduced by United Nations in 2015 and Respect for the Envrionment is also one of the Ten Principles of Fair Trade used by WFTO. In WFTO-Europe we support producers and organizations which maximize the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges and minimize their impact on the environment. All members of WFTO are comitted to the environement, and it is essential that we work to keep our ecological usage to a minimum.