Quantcast

If Everyone Lived Like Europeans, We'd Be Out of ​Earth's Resources Today

Popular
Environmental activists and campaigners from several organizations gathered in Parliament Square to protest against the governments lack of action on the climate change and destruction of the environment on May 1 in London. Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Today is the day on which we would have exhausted Earth's resources for the year if everyone lived like residents of the European Union (EU), according to a new report from WWF and the Global Footprint Network. The report, the first to focus on the EU specifically, calculated that if everyone consumed as much fuel, food, fiber, land and timber as Europeans, it would take 2.8 planet earths to sustain us all, The Guardian reported.


"EU Overshoot Day is a stark reminder that EU consumption is contributing to the Earth's looming ecological and climate collapse. This is not only irresponsible, it is outright dangerous. Urgent action is needed, and EU leaders must summon the political will to treat this situation as an emergency and set us on a path towards a sustainable future for Europe," WWF European Policy Office Director Ester Asin said, according to The Guardian.

The WWF calculates Earth Overshoot Day every year. That is the day at which the entire Earth exhausts its budget of natural resources, and it gets earlier every year. Last year, it was August 1. But it would be more than two months ahead of that if everyone lived like Europeans. The EU currently uses twice as many resources as its own ecosystems can sustain, the report found, according to BBC News. It makes up just seven percent of the earth's population, but uses one fifth of its "biocapacity."

"We are running a pyramid scheme," Global Footprint Network Founder and President Mathis Wackernagel said, according to The Guardian. "Taking resources from the future to run today's economy. It needs no reminder that this is risky for Europe's prosperity. Choosing to deplete our future does not serve us."

The EU's resource overuse comes mostly through the burning of greenhouse gasses, but also from the import of products like palm oil, soy, cocoa and rubber that are made possible by deforestation in Latin America, Asia and Africa.

If the EU as a whole were a country, it would have the third largest ecological footprint in the world, behind only the U.S. and China. But the report also broke down the consumption of individual countries. Luxembourg, which relies heavily on coal, had an overshoot day 46 days into 2016. Romania's was July 12. The overshoot day for the UK was May 17, a week after the average.


A UK government spokesperson told BBC News that the country was committed to using resources in a more sustainable way.

"We want to leave our environment in a better state than we found it," they said. "Our 25-year Environment Plan outlines steps to achieve this ambition and the forthcoming Environment Bill will put environmental ambition and accountability at the heart of government. We share the Global Footprint Network's ambition to push back Overshoot Day."

The report comes two weeks before the European Parliament elections and, in the report, WWF urged EU leaders and political representatives to take the following actions to reduce Europe's footprint:

1. Shift to sustainable consumption and food systems
2. Make Europe climate-neutral by 2040
3. Restore our nature
4. Protect the Ocean
5. Invest in a sustainable future

It also called on the European Parliament, European Commission and European Council.to endorse a European Sustainability Pact following the elections, with goals like fighting climate change and investing in sustainable sectors.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) speaks during the North American Building Trades Unions Conference at the Washington Hilton April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Read More Show Less
Foto-Rabe / Pixabay

When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.

Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A crate carrying one of the 33 lions rescued from circuses in Peru and Columbia is lifted onto the back of a lorry before being transported to a private reserve on April 30, 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.

Read More Show Less
A tornado Monday in Union City, Oklahoma. TicToc by Bloomberg / YouTube screenshot

Extreme weather spawned 18 tornadoes across five states Monday, USA Today reported. Tornadoes were reported in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arizona, but were not as dangerous as forecasters had initially feared, the Associated Press reported.

Read More Show Less
A woman walks in front of her water-logged home in Sriwulan village, Sayung sub-district of Demak regency, Central Java, Indonesia on Feb. 2, 2018. Siswono Toyudho / Anadolu Agency /Getty Images

A new study has more than doubled the worst-case-scenario projection for sea level rise by the end of the century, BBC News reported Monday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

The Guardian is changing the way it writes about environmental issues.

Read More Show Less
Blueberry yogurt bark. SEE D JAN / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Having nutritious snacks to eat during the workday can help you stay energized and productive.

Read More Show Less
A 2017 flood in Elk Grove, California. Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources

By Tara Lohan

It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.

Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.

Read More Show Less