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Earth Overshoot Day Continues to Creep Up the Calendar

August 10, 2016

Earth Overshoot Day Continues to Creep Up the Calendar

August 10, 2016
by Sustainable Brands

While Olympians are desperately competing in Rio for the fastest times and highest scores, humanity has achieved a different world record – we have used up nature’s budget for the entire year in record time. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year and arrived earlier than ever, falling on August 8, 2016. Unfortunately, there are no winners in the race for natural resources.

“When overshoot day arrives, it means we have spent all the interest on the planet’s ecological bank account and are now dipping into the capital,” Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology at Duke University explained to National Geographic. “That is, we’re depleting what our planet does for us, so year after year, there is less for us to use. Less forest, fewer fish in the ocean, less productive land — burdens that fall disproportionately on the world’s poor.”

Earth Overshoot Day has been creeping up the calendar throughout the new millennium, from October 1st in 2000 to August 13th in 2015 and now August 8th. Carbon emissions are the fastest growing contributor to ecological overshoot, with the carbon footprint now making up 60 percent of humanity’s demand on nature, or its ecological footprint. Under the Paris Climate Agreement, the carbon footprint will need to gradually fall to zero by 2050. While countries have begun to ratify the accord, the responsibility is larger than governments, and businesses and individuals will need to find new ways of operating and living on our planet if we are to achieve such a goal.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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