Earth Overshoot Day: World has Already Used Up Resources

PeopleOther ♦ Published: July 27, 2022; 16:06 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Earth's natural resources for this year will have been depleted by tomorrow. By tomorrow, ecosystems would need about a year to replenish their resources. According to the Global Footprint Network, which is based in the United States and Switzerland, Earth Overshoot Day is slightly earlier this year than last.

The exploitation of the Earth's finite resources is dangerous for the future of humanity and only further fuels the climate crisis. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Alfred T. Palmer / Public Domain

All natural resources of the earth and the CO2 budget are used up starting from tomorrow for this year. With this date, the day of global resource depletion moves forward again by two days and lands on the earliest calculated day of the year so far.

The use of fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas or coal must be drastically reduced, especially in the rich countries of Europe and North America. These countries consume the most global resources, according to the Global Footprint Network. The 100 corporations with the highest CO2 emissions account for 70.57 percent of all industrially emitted greenhouse gases worldwide. The first places are occupied by well-known names such as Gazprom and ExxonMobil.

The Global Footprint Network is an international research organization that provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits. Global Footprint Network provides the data and research for Earth Overshoot Day.

Demanding action

Mathis Wackernagel, founder of Global Footprint Network expressed that Resource security is "turning into an essential parameter of economic strength." Further, he stressed, "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."

"As of Thursday, we are living on credit with our Earth," Christoph Bals of the German environmental organization Germanwatch said, according to the ORF. "We are burdening the consequences of this overexploitation in particular on the poor today and on future generations - and with growing intensity."

Many high-ranking officials are also aware of the situation. Dignitaries from politics, business, science and culture have spoken out against the destruction of the earth.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said in a statement that the only viable path to energy security, stable electricity prices, prosperity and a habitable planet lie in moving away from polluting fossil fuels and accelerating an energy transition based on renewable energy.

Earth Overshoot Day is ominously early, partly due to the continued overuse of fossil fuels. Other Environmental organizations like WWF Austria, Global 2000 and Plattform Footprint are expressing concerns about this environmental issue. WWF Austria called for a "massive energy-saving offensive" "to stop the senseless waste of energy and resources," it said in a statement, according to ORF.

NGOs demand action in Austria

The Global Footprint Network report clearly shows that Austria alone consumes far more resources than others. In particular, it shows up, how unequally the resource consumption is distributed worldwide that inhabitants of population-rich states such as India, Bangladesh, Nigeria or Ethiopia do not have an overload day at all because they do not consume more resources than they can reproduce within one year again. If all people lived as in Austria, all resources would have been used up this year already on April 6 and would even need 3.8 earths. For example, the Austrian OMV AG ranks 94th among the 100 corporations with the largest CO2 emissions.

Greenpeace Austria's Jasmin Duregger urged the federal government of Austria to finally implement laws that limit resource waste according to ORF. According to her, this includes the Renewable Heat Act, the Energy Efficiency Act, and the Climate Protection Act.

Petra Bayr, the SPÖ's spokeswoman for global development, also said that Austria has "a particularly urgent mandate to finally take political action." For her, a radical turnaround is necessary "so that future generations can also live in dignity." Otherwise, the politician noted, the impact of this environmentally damaging path will have immeasurable consequences for the Earth and its inhabitants.

It is also important for various interest groups to do business in Austria in a more environmentally friendly way. "Measures for climate protection, in particular, are long overdue. Renewable energies are the solution. The time to act is now," explains Stefan Moidl, Managing Director of IG Windkraft: "The provinces have the competencies for implementation and must get into gear to achieve the expansion of renewables. Burgenland shows how it can be done if the political will is there."

In addition to the climate crisis, there are also gas and energy crises. At 61 percent, the CO2 share in the ecological footprint is enormous. Here, however, there is also the opportunity for great savings potential, according to Moidl. Renewable energies make it possible to provide energy with minimal CO2 emissions and are therefore a key solution to the climate crisis.

Global Footprint Network

Earth Overshoot Day