Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg called attention to the milestone on Twitter, writing that for the rest of the year, “we are stealing from future generations and poorer parts of the world.”
To help nudge the Earth Overshoot Day further back, the network is encouraging people to take a number of steps.
People can share solutions they are employing on a “move the date” interactive map and are encouraged to commit to taking individual actions such as calling on their local officials to adopt more ecologically-friendly policies, or committing to a more plant-based diet. “If we reduced global meat consumption by 50 percent and used more calories from plants, we would move Overshoot Day 5 days!” says the Global Footprint Network.
People can also calculate their personal overshoot day at the Footprint Calculator.
But the scale of the problem necessitates that those who wield power commit to action. That has some looking towards the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Chile known as COP25.
“With Earth Overshoot Day occurring ever earlier in the year, and a big part of it being the growing amounts of CO2 emissions, the importance of decisive action is becoming ever more evident,” said María Carolina Schmidt Zaldívar, who serves as Chile’s environment minister and will chair COP25. “For this reason,” she said, “we are working with all parties to find effective approaches.”
The stakes, as Mathis Wackernagel, co-inventor of Ecological Footprint accounting and founder of Global Footprint Network, said, couldn’t be higher.
“We have only got one Earth,” he said, “this is the ultimately defining context for human existence.”
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