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25 September: Earth Overshoot Day

Sep 25th, 2009 |

EarthOvershoot2009

Unlike governments, nature doesn’t do bailouts. Yet as of today, humanity will have placed more demand on ecological services – from filtering CO2 to producing food, fiber and timber– than nature can provide in this year, according to Global Footprint Network calculations. From now until the end of the year, we will meet our demand for ecological services by depleting resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“It’s a simple case of income versus expenditures,” said Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel. “For years, our demand on nature has exceeded, by an increasingly greater margin, the budget of what nature can produce. The urgent threats we are seeing now – most notably climate change, but also biodiversity loss, shrinking forests, declining fisheries, soil erosion and freshwater stress – are all clear signs: Nature is running out of credit to extend.”

Just like any country, company, or household, nature has a budget – it can only produce so much resources and absorb so much waste each year. The problem is, our demand on nature exceeds its capacity to generate resources and absorb CO2,a condition known as ecological overshoot. We now use a year’s worth of capacity in less than 10 months. Our calculations show that if we continue with business as usual, according to moderate U.N. projections, in less than 25 years humanity will require the regenerative capacity of two planets– a level of demand that is likely to be physically impossible to meet.

For more information visit Global Footprint Network global-footprint-network-logo





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