The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Today, Aug. 20, is Earth Overshoot Day—when humanity has used as much renewable natural resources as our planet can regenerate in one year. For the rest of 2013, we are “in the red”—effectively overdrawn on the balance sheet of nature’s goods and services that we require to survive.
Based on ecological footprint data—measuring how much nature we have, how much we use, and who uses what—Earth Overshoot Day is an initiative of World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) partner, the Global Footprint Network, to raise awareness and inspire action around ecological “overspending.”
Climate change is a major impact of overshoot, as using fossil fuels causes harmful emissions of carbon dioxide that the planet simply cannot absorb. Forests are shrinking, fish stocks are waning, land is getting degraded, freshwater resources are dwindling and biological diversity is depleting.
“Nature is the basis of our wellbeing and our prosperity—but we are using up way too much of the Earth's finite resources," said Jim Leape, director general of WWF International.
"WWF's Living Planet Report shows clearly that humanity's demands exceed our planet's capacity to sustain us—simply put, we are asking for more than we have available,” Leape concluded.
In 1961, the year WWF was established, humanity was using two-thirds of the Earth’s available natural resources and most countries had ecological reserves—meaning our footprint was lighter and more sustainable.
By taking action now we can reverse the trend. Switching to clean, renewable, abundant energy sources like sun and wind will slash dirty emissions that strain our oceans and forests, and pollute our air. Choosing sustainable goods like seafood labelled with the Marine Stewardship Council blue tick, and wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council helps ensure products come from well managed sources.
“More than 50 percent of humanity's ecological footprint is composed of our carbon footprint, especially from the burning of fossil fuels," Leape continued.
"WWF is currently running a global campaign, Seize Your Power, pressing for much greater investment in renewable energies," said Leape. “For a clean and healthy future for our children, we must preserve the natural capital that is left—and be much better stewards of the planet we call home.”
Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A unique subpopulation of ancient walrus in Iceland was likely hunted to extinction by Vikings shortly after arrival to the region, according to new research.
By Tara Smith
Fires in the Brazilian Amazon have jumped 84 percent during President Jair Bolsonaro's first year in office and in July 2019 alone, an area of rainforest the size of Manhattan was lost every day. The Amazon fires may seem beyond human control, but they're not beyond human culpability.
By Natalie Hanman
Why are you publishing this book now?
I still feel that the way that we talk about climate change is too compartmentalised, too siloed from the other crises we face. A really strong theme running through the book is the links between it and the crisis of rising white supremacy, the various forms of nationalism and the fact that so many people are being forced from their homelands, and the war that is waged on our attention spans. These are intersecting and interconnecting crises and so the solutions have to be as well.
As the climate crisis takes on more urgency, psychologists around the world are seeing an increase in the number of children sitting in their offices suffering from 'eco-anxiety,' which the American Psychological Association described as a "chronic fear of environmental doom," as EcoWatch reported.
By Ben Jervey
Drivers of electric cars are being unfairly punished by punitive fees in several states, according to a newly published analysis by Consumer Reports. Legislators in 26 states have enacted or proposed special registration fees for electric vehicles (EVs) that the consumer advocacy group found to be more expensive than the gas taxes paid by the driver of an average new gasoline vehicle.