According to Global Footprint Network, “Every year people demand more from nature than it can regenerate.” In 1969, the group started calculating the annual Earth Overshoot Day — the day when we’ve used as many natural resources that the Earth can provide for us that year. Unfortunately, the date is earlier and earlier each year
This year’s Earth Overshoot Day was August 2. That’s eight months into 2017, or two-thirds into the year. To commemorate this year’s Overshoot Day, Global Footprint Network is launching a new Footprint calculator that works on smartphones. You can calculate the amount of natural resources you use and discover your own personal Earth Overshoot Day. This is a valuable tool because we can measure our actions and determine where we need to make changes in our habits to help save the planet.
In response to Earth Overshoot Day happening earlier and earlier annually, Global Footprint Network has introduced an initiative called #movethedate. They request that we pledge to stop wasting and overusing resources. The objective is to improve sustainability in use of food, cities, population, and energy.
Food waste and diet contribute to 26% of our global ecological footprint. We need to consume less meat and dairy and stop wasting so much food in order to protect our natural resources.
Because 70-80 percent of the population will reside in cities by 2050, it’s imperative to plan urban development to maximize energy-efficient buildings, to carpool or use public transportation, and to decrease the use of personal automobiles because they account for 14% of our collective carbon footprint.
In addition to every person having half a child less (meaning every other family has one less child), empowering women is a proven way to improve communities. Societies where women are empowered have better health and educational achievements, and lower reproductive rates.
A whopping 60 percent of our global footprint comes from our energy usage. Reducing carbon and increasing renewable energy would have a dramatic effect in creating a sustainable society.
The status of our global footprint is dire, yet the above changes can help us to decrease it. Scientists around the world continue to invent and perfect new ways to save energy. We possess the intelligence to resolve the footprint situation — now we just need to take action.