Posted on 09 May 2019
10 May 2019 marks the date by which humanity would have exhausted nature’s annual budget if everybody in the world lived like EU residents.
10 May 2019 marks the date by which humanity would have exhausted nature’s annual budget if everybody in the world lived like EU residents, according to WWF Overshoot Day Report produced with the Global Footprint Network.
Human society is supported by what nature provides – food, fiber, timber, carbon absorption, and land to build infrastructure. However, if all people around the world shared the same lifestyle we enjoy in the EU, mankind would have used as much as the planet’s ecosystems can renew over the entire year by 10 May already. This means that 2.8 Earths would be needed to sustain the demand of natural resources required by such a lifestyle.
In contrast, Earth Overshoot Day, the date by which humanity has used as much ecological resources as the planet’s ecosystems can renew over the whole year, fell on 1 August last year. For the remainder of the year, humanity operates on depletion of the natural capital. This excess use is called “overshoot”.
The consequences of our ecological overshoot include global deforestation, biodiversity loss, collapse of fish stocks, water scarcity, soil erosion, air pollution, and climate change, leading to more frequent extreme weather events such as droughts, floods, and wildfires. These threats in turn bring about tensions and conflicts, and exacerbate global inequalities.
The report highlights the many differences between EU Member States’ Ecological Footprints and those of other countries in the world. It also shows that despite large variations among EU countries, not a single one of them is performing at a sustainable level.