Earth Overshoot Day: what are you doing to cut your carbon footprint?
August 2nd is Earth Overshoot Day, which means we've already used up all of what our planet can regenerate this year. If we were to all cut our carbon footprint by half we would push that date back by about three months, according to experts.
At the moment humanity is consuming the resources of 1.7 Earths. In the UK, our economy and way of living means we are actually consuming the resources of three planet earths – and in America and Australia the level of consumption is akin to living on five planet earths and five+ planet earths respectively.
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. This year, it falls on August 2nd, the earliest its ever been.
Global Footprint Network (GFN) is the international research organisation that is behind Earth Overshoot Day and The Planet Mark™ is joining it today to call on governments, businesses and people to do more to meet our ecological obligations to our precious planet.
There are many opportunities for action. For instance, cutting food waste by 50% worldwide could move the date by 11 days, according to GFN.
Number one is cutting carbon
But cutting our carbon footprint is still the single biggest impact we can have on meeting that obligation. According to GFN, reducing the carbon component of humanity’s ecological footprint by 50% would move Earth Overshoot Day by 89 days, or about three months.
Of course, the 2015 Paris Accord on Climate puts a responsibility on governments around the world to cap the global temperature rise at below 2°C (or even 1.5°C) and even though the US government has backtracked on that commitment many US cities, states and large businesses are redoubling their commitments. In addition, China, the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, is committed to building an Ecological Civilization in its latest five-year plan.
So how can you play your part?
If you are an organisation, the first thing you should be doing is measuring and reporting your carbon footprint. Once you’ve done that you need to set targets to help you do reduce your carbon footprint. We recommend you set annual targets. If you don’t know how to measure and report your carbon we’ve created a Beginners Guide to Carbon Footprinting to help you get started.
If you are individual, GFN has created a user friendly online footprint calculator that will give you a good idea of your size of your footprint and where you’re biggest impacts are.
For more information about Earth Overshoot Day and how you play your part visit the website.