Yesterday, August 2nd 2017, was an important date for humanity to take note – Earth Overshoot Day. From this date, we are now damaging the earth beyond its ability to sustain the actions of mankind in 2017. In just 7 months, we’ve (globally) managed to exhaust a year’s worth of the Earth’s natural resources due to burning fossil fuels, overfishing and deforestation. In this period, we’ve also pumped out all the carbon dioxide that forests and oceans can absorb in a year.
In today’s World, we are now consuming resources at a rate of 1.7 Earth’s every year compared to the early 1970’s where the Earth’s natural resources and our consumption reached ‘bio-capacity’. Due to the increasing global population and subsequent increase in human activity to extract the Earth’s resources for survival and lifestyle, we have pushed the Earth far beyond its ability to sustain.
Earth Overshoot Day has arrived earlier with every passing year (in 2016 it was on 8 August) however the rate of depleting the Earth’s resources has slowed in recent year’s due to the awareness of the issue and the implementation of new policies to address the concern (for example, the COP21 agreement in Paris). Too little, too late, perhaps, but what damage is being done must be halted and reversed to ensure future generations have a chance of living in a Sustainable World.
Whilst different regions around the Globe are more responsible (or irresponsible!) for their global footprint than others, back here in the UK, we can all do our part starting with significantly reducing carbon emissions and phasing out fossil fuels as soon as possible. The recent announcement of a better, smarter energy strategy has been long overdue and may give the UK a more sustainable platform to generate, store and distribute energy more efficiently. In addition, even greater deployment of rooftop solar PV and battery storage is needed on a commercial scale, in addition to continuing the good progress and attitude towards electric vehicles.