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Earth Overshoot Day 2018

03 August 2018

"You can't spend 70 percent more than what you earn forever", Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D., founder and CEO of the Global Footprint Network, told mbg when we caught up with him about this year's overshoot day.

As part of its mission to address the issues of clean and sustainable energy, the South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi) will be participating in this year's global Earth Overshoot Day, taking place on August 1, by urging South Africans to check their ecological footprint and be mindful of this where possible.

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We're only 212 days into 2018, but theoretically we've already used up all the resources that the planet has to give this year.

It means humanity is now using nature 1.7 times faster than the planet's natural systems can cope with - the equivalent of using 1.7 Earths. The "1.7 Earths" figure is an average of resource consumption across the planet. On the other side of the world, Cape Town residents had to slash water consumption by half since 2015.

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He likened the world's economies to using Earth's future resources to operate in the present and creating a deeper ecological debt.

The UK hit its overshoot day on May 8th. According to predictions, if the carbon footprint and food waste declines 50 percent and people start to get only the necessary calories, the overreach day will extend to 38 days.

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"These are the consequences of busting the ecological budget of our one and only planet". Reduce driving by half and replace one-third of the travel distance with public transportation and the rest by walking and biking. The think tank calculates how many resources a country produces by looking at areas like farmland, grassland, forests, oceans, and cities. As if that's not scary enough, with this year's day falling on August 1, it's "five months too soon - and the earliest since the world first went into ecological overshoot". This marks the earliest date yet for Earth Overshoot Day - the day humanity's annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth's ecosystems can renew in that year.