by Wolfgang Flüs
What is Earth Overshoot Day?Resources are not unlimited. Renewable raw materials are only available to the extent that they can regenerate. If they do not have the appropriate time for this, the person consumes more than can be made available to him again through regeneration. Chaos is inevitable. Under the term "Earth Overshoot Day" is understood to mean the day of a year on which humanity has used up all natural resources that can be restored and made usable by nature within a year. This year falls Earth Overshoot Day, which is also known colloquially as Overshoot or Earth overload day on July 29th. If we look at how this day shifts a few days forward every year, it becomes clear that we can no longer continue as before.
In which direction is the critical day shifting?
The Global Footprint Network, a non-profit organization, has justified an action with the annual calculation of the World Exhaustion Day, which is intended to remind us emphatically that there is an equal give and take in nature. Those who do not adhere to this rule and live beyond their own means will have to face the consequences. The deadline shifts from year to year. This year it falls on July 29th. Last year, resources were exhausted on August 22nd. If we go back a little further, the following balance emerges:
- 2019 - July 29th
- 2018 - August 1st
- 2017 - August 2st
- 2016 - August 8st
- 2015 - August 13st
- 2014 - August 19st
The trend is clear and shows that we are using up the resources available to us every year more and more quickly without creating the corresponding reserves. It is possible that the effects of this behavior will no longer affect us, our children and grandchildren definitely will.
How is the World Exhaustion Day date calculated?In order to determine exactly to the day when the annual resources are used up, the earth's biocapacity has to be determined. First, the yields of productive land areas are determined. At the same time, it is calculated to what extent the ecosystem can dispose of the human-produced waste. The resulting value is set in relation to the so-called ecological footprint, which means the resources that are required each year. The day on which the requirements exceed the actual availability of resources can be determined from all parameters.
The overshoot day of individual countries in an international comparison
The imbalance between available resources and consumption above that occurred for the first time on December 21.12.1971, XNUMX. This year the date falls on 29. July. That is 5 months earlier than 50 years ago. Let's take a look at the statistics to see which countries are at the forefront of this negative trend.
Auf dem american continent America and Canada are among the top consumers, while Mexico only has its World Exhaustion Day at the end of the second half of the year.
In the European countries all due dates are before August. Only Albania and Moldova can show a date after the first half of the year. (Albania in October, Moldova in December).
In Africa Mauritius and Réunion come first when it comes to the imbalance between resource consumption and natural resources.
These statistics can be justified with the gross domestic product of a country - the lower the standard of living, the less is consumed. In Europe, Luxembourg is very negative, because the World Exhaustion Day of this country is already in February, closely followed by Denmark with a deadline in March. This means that it would take 12 earths to meet the needs of Luxembourg alone. But that is beyond healthy thinking. This fact is due to a large carbon footprint. In Luxembourg, there is also the fact that the country has the lowest share of renewable resources in all of Europe. Denmark has the highest car density and also produces the largest amount of waste per person per year in Europe.
Are there also countries without Overshoot Day?They are few in number, but they do exist - countries that use fewer or as many resources as nature makes available to them. In Africa, many of these countries are located south of the Sahara, and on the American continent, the ecological balance is maintained in Honduras, Jamaica and Haiti. In Asia, for example, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, North Korea and the Philippines are at the forefront when it comes to a balanced relationship between give and take. Since these are mostly poorer countries, the claim that low consumption uses the fewest resources is confirmed.
Reasons for reaching Earth Overshoot Day earlier from year to year
- Unchanged high CO2 emissions that did not exist 150 years ago
- Deforestation, which allows the CO2 stored there to escape into the atmosphere
- Food waste
- Garbage generation
Can the relationship be brought back into balance?People often only change when it hurts physically or becomes existentially threatening. It is therefore questionable how many people will wake up in time and face the necessary changes. But what can be done?
Put an end to food wasteA third of all food produced is not used. If only half of the resources used for this were unused, Earth Overshoot Day would be postponed by two weeks.
Reduce CO2 emissions from trafficTraffic and transport routes cause CO2 emissions. If this amount can be halved, the Earth Overshoot Day could also be postponed by two weeks and would reduce the consumption of resources. To do this, people would have to do without the car, make their way using muscle power and also think about alternatives with regard to annual vacation flights.
Lowering meat consumptionA plant-based diet is not only healthier for humans, it also helps to save resources. Enormous amounts of grazing land and fodder must be made available for meat production. If meat consumption could be reduced by half, resources could be saved for a further 17 days.
Economical use of water - resource-saving watering
One of the most important resources for all of our lives worldwide is water. Not all people still have access to sufficiently clean trick water. And this situation is being progressed through Klimawandel still amplify. In our regions, which historically were not exactly characterized by a great lack of water, it is evident that due to the increasing uneven distribution of precipitation in the form of increasingly longer dry periods and precipitation, which occurs more and more frequently as heavy rain, water is becoming a scarce resource. The dry summers of recent years have resulted in the groundwater level falling continuously in some regions and no longer regenerating sufficiently. In some regions it is so strong that the water supply through the pipeline network sometimes collapsed in dry phases. At the same time, we need more and more water to irrigate our plants - including our trees - in dry periods. Therefore, water-saving methods of irrigating our trees and plants are becoming increasingly important. The variant of irrigation that can save the most water is the so-called drip irrigation. If you want to support the trees in your garden or the city trees in your street in longer dry periods and protect them from drought stress, you will find ours Tree watering bags therefore an ideal opportunity to water trees by means of drip irrigation, saving water and time.