UN Observance: Earth Overshoot Day August 19, 2014

Today on August 19th we celebrate Earth Overshoot Day 2014.

UN Observance: Earth Overshoot Day August 19, 2014
UN Observance: Earth Overshoot Day August 19, 2014

This observance day corresponds to the approximate date humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what the Earth can renew this year.

This means that, in less than 8 months, we have demanded an amount of ecological resources and services equivalent to what Earth can regenerate for all of 2014 (we have therefore consumed all of  nature’s budget for the year)!

What is the Environmental Impact of Over Consuming Nature’s Budget?

From now until December 31, 2014 we will be reducing our ecological assets. In doing this we will be depleting stocks of fish, trees and other resources, and accumulating waste such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and oceans (one of the main contributors to global warming).

Mankind’s carbon footprint is the largest portion of humanity’s footprint — a result of emitting greenhouse gases faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans — and contributes significantly to humanity’s ecological overspending.

Some Key Facts

  • It would take more than 1.5 Earths to provide the biocapacity (capacity of ecosystems to absorb waste materials generated by humans) needed to support humanity’s current ecological footprint (this could rise to 3 Earths by 2050);
  • 86% of the world population lives in countries that demand more from nature than their own ecosystems can renew (i.e. Japan’s ecological footprint is 7 times larger than its biocapacity).

How You Can Reduce your Ecological Footprint

The responsibility to reduce mankind’s ecological footprint lies with each and every one of us. There are various steps we can take to affect our transition to a green economy (an economy that that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities):

  • Use cleaner transport: Walk, bike, or take public transit whenever possible;
  • Add energy-saving features to your home: Install compact fluorescent bulbs in all your home light fixtures;
  • Adopt energy-saving habits: Unplug your electronics when not in use. To make it easier, use a power strip. Even when turned off, items like your television, computer, and cellphone charger still sip power;
  • Reduce your Food Footprint: Eat more local, organic, in-season foods;
  • Adopt water-saving habits: Take shorter, less frequent showers-this not only saves water, but the energy necessary to heat it;
  • Reduce your Goods and Services Footprint: Buy less! Replace items only when you really need to.


 To learn more about the importance of transitioning to a green economy and embracing sustainable consumption and production practices, make sure you attend the screenings of Last Call at the fourth Edition of the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (www.dreff.org) on September 10-14, 2014.

To view a trailer for Last Call please click here.

About Last Call:

40 years ago a book shook the world. The Limits to Growth became a best seller world wide. It was based on a report by a team of brave scientists from the MIT. Today their message is more relevant than ever: Planet Earth has its limits. Economic growth at full pace will bring our society and environment into overshoot and on the edge of collapse. The documentary Last Call tells the story of the rise and fall, and of today’s rebirth of one of the most controversial and inspiring environmental books of all times. For four decades economic and political short-termism has delayed action despite their analysis, anticipating the global crisis we are living in. So, what should be done now that we are beyond the limits? Supported by extraordinary archive materials, The Limits to Growth provides a provocative insight on the reasons of the global crisis and shares a vision of our common future. Is there still time for a last call?

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