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Humanity has exhausted the natural resources available for this year

This year it would take 1.6 Earths to meet the needs of humanity in a sustainable way.


There is one day in the year, from a certain point in time, when the pressure that human activities exert on natural resources begins to exceed the Earth’s regenerative capacity for that entire year. That day was reached on August 22.

Called ‘Overshoot day’, this symbolic date constitutes a great wake-up call to change our habits and reconcile ourselves with what is for now our only home in the universe.

But 2020 is a very special year. The global confinement that the coronavirus crisis has forced has punctually reduced the ecological footprint caused by human activity and has delayed in 21 days compared to 2019 the arrival of that day when the Earth metaphorically hangs the “Exhausted” sign and humanity begins to live on credit.

“There is no reason for joy, since it is accompanied by suffering, it was not done on purpose but due to a catastrophe,” stressed Mathis Wackernagel, president of Global Footprint Network, the NGO that created this awareness day and makes the calculation every year.

Science determined the consequences of living on credit with the planet: from climate change to the disappearance of species and ecosystems. The latest reports from UN experts clearly identify the way forward to avoid it: reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, abandonment of fossil fuels, drastic change in the agri-food production model, etc.

Post Pandemia

A study published this month in the journal Nature Climate Change warned for its part that the unprecedented drop in emissions during the confinement of a large part of the world’s population – which could be between 8% and 10% according to its authors -, “will not do anything” if there is no systemic change in energy and food.

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To insist on it, Global Footprint Network launched the #movethedate campaign, ensuring, for example, that reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion by 50% would save more than 90 days.

The date is obtained by crossing the ecological impact of human activities (the land and sea surfaces necessary to produce the resources consumed and absorb the waste of the population) and the biocapacity of the Earth, that is, of the ecosystems to regenerate and absorb the man-made waste, especially by capturing CO2

Marco Lambertini, CEO of WWF, associated with this NGO since 2007, trusts that after the COVID-19 pandemic and the reflections it aroused around the models of society, humanity will know how to “draw the lessons from what this pandemic evidenced: the unsustainable relationship of waste and destruction that we maintain with nature.

Source: AFP


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