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July 29: Earth Overshoot Day 2019 is the Earliest Ever

29 July 2019 - According to the Global Footprint Network, Earth Overshoot Day has moved up the calendar by two months over the past 20 years to 29 July this year, the earliest date ever.

It seems like European Overshoot Day 2019 on May 10 was only yesterday. If EU consumption was the global norm, the Earth’s yearly budget would have been exhausted on 10 May, not July 29. The European Overshoot Day Report highlighted the many differences between EU Member States’ ecological footprints and those of other countries in the world. It also showed that despite large variations among EU countries, not a single one of them is performing at a sustainable level.

WWF-CEE 2019 National Overshoot Days
Bulgaria - June 22
Hungary - June 14
Romania - June 12
Slovakia - May 22

Humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.75 Earths. Overshoot is possible because we are depleting our natural capital – which compromises humanity’s future resource security. The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the forms of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Humanity will eventually have to operate within the means of Earth’s ecological resources, whether that balance is restored by disaster or by design.

Solutions that #MoveTheDate

WWF Strengthens its Demand for a New Deal for Nature and People
The EU’s ecological footprint must be reduced, allowing it to not only stay on track with its international commitments under the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but also to protect Europe’s long-term stability, safety and prosperity.

In light of this, WWF Central and Eastern Europe reiterates its call on national and regional leaders to take action in support for a new deal for nature and people. WWF emphasises the need to halt the loss of natural habitats and species extinction, and to halve the ecological footprint of production and consumption by 2030. Since the Earth’s water is 97% salt water and only 3% freshwater, and that 3% supports 40% of all fauna, protecting our water resources is paramount to achieve this goal.

Achieving a zero loss of natural spaces requires that 50% of the planet is effectively protected, restored and sustainably managed in a natural state. Practically, 30% of all terrestrial, freshwater and marine areas must come under effective and equitable protection and conservation, and 20% become sustainably managed. In all cases, the rights and role of indigenous and local communities will be key in achieving this goal, ensuring that nature thrives for the benefit of all humanity.

The goal of zero extinction must ensure that wildlife populations are stable or increasing. In addition to protecting their habitats and removing the pressures of unsustainable production, concerted efforts must be made to prevent poaching of large carnivores, sturgeons and other species, and to halt the introduction of invasive alien species.

The private sector and many governments have already identified numerous ways to reduce the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, food production, loss & waste, freshwater stress, and raw material consumption while still meeting the important needs of people. These strategies must be employed immediately in order to halve the negative ecological impacts of production and consumption at the national level by 2030. It is time to embrace these solutions at the scale needed tackling the main sectors responsible for biodiversity and nature loss: agriculture, fishing, forestry, extractives and infrastructure.

Accelerate solutions to #MoveTheDate
Moving the date of Earth Overshoot Day back 5 days each year would allow humanity to reach one-planet compatibility before 2050. Solutions that #MoveTheDate are available and financially advantageous. Significant opportunities are to be found in five key areas: cities, energy, food, population, and planet. For instance, cutting CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning by 50% would #MoveTheDate by 93 days.

Companies and countries that understand and manage the reality of operating in a one-planet context are in a far better position to navigate the challenges of the 21st century,” said Mathis Wackernagel, co-inventor of Ecological Footprint accounting and founder of the Global Footprint Network.

The new #MoveTheDate Solutions Map invites people to champion existing solutions. Users can also connect with each other on the basis of geography and focus of interest, accelerating the implementation of new projects in the real world. Developed with start-up Mapotic, the social platform also features solutions identified by partners, starting with Buckminster Fuller Institute award laureates. The map is designed to complement the Footprint Calculator. The latter, which enables people to calculate their own Ecological Footprint and their personal Earth Overshoot Day, draws more than 2.5 million users per year and is now available in eight languages.

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