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L'Earth Overshoot Day, literally the “Earth overexploitation day”, marks the date on which humanity consumed all the renewable resources available for the current year, bringing the planet into a "deficit" condition. As is now the case, Earth Overshoot Day falls early in the calendar in 2019 and is certainly not good news.
This year the date is scheduled for July 29, three days earlier than in 2018. Due to the heavy anthropic footprinta linked to activities such as intensive agricultural practices, excessive use of water, industrial fishing, deforestation, land consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, a phase of overconsumption of the planet occurs for the umpteenth time.
What is Earth Overshoot Day
Earth Overshoot Day can be considered as a true annual balance of the natural resources available on Earth, calculated through the ecological footprint. The calculation is made by the international research organization Global Footprint Network (GFN). Currently, human consumption of natural resources occurs at a rate of withdrawal 1.75 times faster than the ability of ecosystems to self-regenerate. This is equivalent to saying that we are using 1.75 planets Earth.
The loss of biodiversity
Above all, biodiversity pays the costs of overexploitation of the planet. L'anthropogenic footprint produces profound changes in habitats, causing their degradation and fragmentation, with immeasurable damage to both the plant and animal heritage.
The destruction of the tropical forest to make way for soybean or oil palm crops is, for example, one of the main causes of biodiversity loss. It should also be remembered that deforestation has further consequences of extreme gravity for the well-being of the planet. Due to the destruction of the forests, huge quantities of are released into the atmosphere greenhouse gases, responsible for global warming.
According to experts from the Global Footprint Network, however, it is still possible to reverse the current trend. If the date of Earth Overshoot Day could be moved forward five days each year, humanity would return to being in harmony with the Planet before 2050.
As every year, therefore, also for 2019 the organization provides a series of tips to achieve this ambitious as well as vital goal. Replacing 50% of meat consumption with a vegetarian diet would allow, for example, to move the date of Overshoot Day forward by fifteen days. A reduction in CO2 emissions of 50% would instead give rise to a shift of 93 days.
In order to know one's ecological footprint, there is a special one calculator designed by the Global Footprint Network and available online in several languages, including English, French, Spanish, German and Italian. So far the calculator has been used by over 15 million people around the world.
For 2019, the Overshoot Day campaign also includes an invitation to visit the Steps to #MoveTheDate page, created to promote the global movement to live in harmony with the Earth, the only Planet we have. As suggested by the Global Footprint Network, the steps to be taken to move the date of overexploitation essentially concern five macro-areas: energy, food, city, population and Planet.
The concrete opportunities that each of us has to act, offering our personal contribution, are innumerable. It ranges from the adoption of good practices in the workplace to the reduction of food waste, from the launch of petitions to their governments for responsible and sustainable management of natural resources to the use of bicycles for daily mobility.