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Earth Overshoot Day comes early

Today is Global Earth Overshoot Day, which means that humanity has used up all the resources it normally has for an entire year. And once again, the day is here earlier than last year.

Earlier and earlier, our waste of resources is catching up with us - at least mathematically and at least once a year, with the media reporting on Earth Overshoot Day. Otherwise, the day usually doesn't matter much, probably because the receipt will not be paid by us, but by our children and grandchildren.

And here we are again: Global Earth Overshoot Day is upon us, as calculated by the Global Footprint Network. On Earth Overshoot Day, two calculated quantities come together: the biological capacity of the Earth to build up resources and absorb waste and emissions, and the demand for forests, land, water, arable land and fishing grounds that humans currently consume for their way of life and economy. Consumption this year exceeds these resources by 75 percent, so we would actually need 1.75 Earths to get through the year.

In 2022, the world will reach Earth Ovwershoot Day today, July 28 - one day earlier than last year. It should be noted here: If it were only up to the industrialized nations, the day would have been reached some months ago already. "If everyone were to work the way we do in Germany, Earth Overshoot Day would be at the beginning of May. Then we would need not two, but three planets," criticizes Christoph Bals, Political Director of the environment and development organization Germanwatch. All EU states record their national overshoot days before the date that indicates the average of global congestion.

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze is also aware of this: "Mankind is currently living as if it had a second planet up its sleeve. But there is no planet B, we have to respect the planetary boundaries. We industrialized countries in particular are part of the problem. If all people lived and consumed as we Germans do, we would need three Earths. We in Europe must no longer allow ourselves to import environmental destruction and human rights violations in other parts of the world with our consumption."

If Europe had its way, we would currently need three Earths to make ends meet (Image: Pixabay).

Russia's war of aggression has highlighted how quickly things can change in Europe. As if the global climate crisis wasn't enough, we now have a gas and energy crisis right on our doorstep. But there is definitely a chance of lasting change, because for many people the situation has already led to greater awareness and a questioning of their own actions.

Not only because of increased prices, many people are consuming more consciously, questioning how they can live and act not only at the expense of the environment. However, industry and politics must now follow suit on a large scale. Stefan Moidl, managing director of Austria's IG Windkraft, points out options for action: "Measures for climate protection in particular are long overdue. Renewable energies are the solution. The time to act is now."

He emphasizes that in Austria the competencies for implementing the energy turnaround lie with the federal states, but they must finally get going to actually achieve the expansion of renewables. The situation is similar in Germany, where the freshly revised 'EEG' law should give renewables expansion new momentum.

"We cannot lose any more time and must expand renewables as quickly as possible. This stands and falls with state policy," Moidl makes clear.

Katrin Radtke
Earth Overshoot Day, resources, renewable energy, expansion, Europe, Germany, Earth, humankind, calendar

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