Stockholm (NordSIP) – Today, the Global Footprint Network (GFN) announced that humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services has already exceeded what planet Earth was expected to be able to regenerate during 2022. Earth Overshoot Day, as this annual event has become known, came on the same date this year as in 2018, two days earlier than in 2021, according to the GFN.
The date of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated each year by the GFN, using National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts data, based on approximately 15,000 data points per country per year, for over 200 countries, territories, and regions from 1961 to the present.
Ecuador’s Minister of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, Gustavo Manrique, hosted a special event to mark Earth Overshoot Day 2022 (July 28). He was joined by Global Footprint Network founder Mathis Wackernagel, Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility Luis Vayas Valdivieso, and supported by video statements from ministers from around the world.
“Earth Overshoot Day demonstrates that the current system of production and consumption is not compatible with the intention to continue to inhabit this planet. To better protect our natural resources and manage our demand for them, it is necessary to take concrete joint actions aimed at a new development model based on sustainability and regeneration. From Ecuador we call on the world to commit to this cause,” explained Minister Gustavo Manrique.
Nordic Countries Still Not Doing Enough
The organisation also estimates when earth overshoot day would occur if the whole population of planet earth lived like specific countries. The prominence of Ecuador in this announcement can be understood by the GFN’s estimate that if the world’s population lived lika that of Ecuador, Earth Overshoot day would occur on December 6. For reference, Denmark’s, Sweden’s, Norway’s or Finland’s Country overshoot days already occurred on March 28th (Marh 26th in 2021), April 3rd (April 6th in 2021), April 12th (same as in 2021) or March 31st (April 10th in 2021), respectively.
“We need to take responsibility and realise that we have a self-image that doesn’t quite match reality. The lifestyle we have in Sweden does not work on a global level. We can no longer live off our past success, we have to show that we can change to reduce emissions now and our politicians have to keep up,” says Carina Borgström-Hanssonan expert on ecological footprints at the WWF (in Swedish, for Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet).
“We have a climate law and it seems that almost all political parties have forgotten about this. The populist rhetoric ahead of the elections would be laughable if the situation wasn’t so serious. Most of the parties seem completely unwilling to take responsibility for the crisis we are in,” Borgström-Hanssonan added
According to the Network’s estimates, to renew everything humanity currently demands from nature would take the biocapacity of 1.75 Earths. Denmark would require 1.8 Denmarks to meet its resident’s needs, while Sweden would require 0.7 Swedens, Norway would require 0.8 Norways and Finland would require 0.5 Finlands.
This resource rush creates enormous problems across the world, not least regarding food scarcity. According to GFN research, over 3 billion people live in countries that produce less food than they consume and generate less income than the world’s average, which the network claims “leaves them with inadequate food capacity and a huge disadvantage in accessing food on global markets.”
“Resource security is turning into an essential parameter of economic strength. There is no advantage in waiting for others to act first. Rather, it is in the interest of every city, company, or country to protect its own ability to operate in the inevitable future of more climate change and resource constraints.” commented Mathis Wackernagel, founder of Global Footprint Network.
To turn this unsustainable trend around, the GFN offers three recommendations regarding the containment of food waste, upgrading urban bicycle infrastructure worldwide and producing power by cost-competitive on-shore wind, as practiced in Denmark and Germany.
“The power of possibility gives us examples of how to build the future we need,” Wackernagel concludes.