Environment

Earth Overshoot Day 2023 – humanity’s biocapacity consumption turns unsustainable

Photo: PIRO from Pixabay

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August 2, 2023

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Published:

August 2, 2023

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Earth Overshoot Day for the year 2023 falls on August 2. It is the date when humanity’s consumption of natural resources and services exceeds what the planet can regenerate and becomes unsustainable for the rest of the year.

According to the country list, Slovenia was once again the first in the Balkans to spend its share of the planet’s biocapacity, in April, while Albania will be the last, in November.

This year the Earth Overshoot Day falls on August 2. It means the exploitation of resources beyond this date disrupts the balance of the planet’s ecosystem.

The rate of consumption of renewable resources in Southeastern Europe remains unchanged

Ecological debts of the countries monitored by Balkan Green Energy News are mostly above the global average, also nearly identical to last year’s levels.

According to the data for 2023, Slovenia was the first to overshoot its resources, on April 18. Montenegro ranked second as it did so on May 17, followed by Greece on May 21, and Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 29. Cyprus went into red on May 31.

Bulgaria is in excess in sustainable resource use since June 9, trailed closely by Romania, which stepped over the line on June 11, and Turkey (June 22). North Macedonia marked its Overshoot Day on July 6, while Serbia fulfilled its quota of renewable biocapacity on July 8.

Resource consumption is more sustainable in Albania, where the date falls far behind the global average, on November 3.

On a global level, Qatar was the first to exceed its share, on February 10, and Luxembourg tops the list in Europe – February 14. Benin in Africa is the closest to renewable biocapacity usage, as its date is December 26.

Planet’s biocapacity is in constant regression

Humanity is using 74% more biocapacity than the planet’s ecosystems can regenerate, the Global Footprint Network said.

In this context, the organization explained that the biocapacity of a city, state, or nation includes biologically productive land and sea areas such as forests, pastures, croplands, fishing grounds, and built-up land.

At the national level, the United States consumes, on average, 5.1 times more resources in a year than it has available.

Australia consumes 4.5 times more, compared to 3.4 more for Russia, China’s excess of 2.5 times more, and Brazil’s 1.6 times the sustainable rate.

India’s resource consumption falls within sustainable limits, using four-fifths of the renewable biocapacity in a year

India, the most populous country on the planet, significantly stands out as it consumes natural resources within sustainable limits, using four fifths of the renewable biocapacity in a year.

Last year Earth Overshoot Day fell on July 28. The fact that the date has shifted towards the end of the year is a rare exception.

The calculation of the balance of the planet’s biocapacity began in 1971. At that time, Earth Overshoot Day was determined to be December 25, but since then

How to stop the shifting of sustainability boundaries

In its recommendations, the Global Footprint Network said that if global food waste were halved, Earth Overshoot Day would be postponed by 13 days.

Moreover, reducing global meat consumption by 50% and replacing the same calories with a vegetarian diet would move the date 17 days later in the calendar, including 10 days due to the reduction in methane emissions.

Reforesting 350 million hectares of forest would postpone Earth Overshoot Day by eight days.

If the ecological footprint of transportation worldwide were halved while one third of car miles were replaced by public transportation, and the rest by cycling and walking, the date would be pushed back 13 days.

The organization further stressed that reducing the carbon component of humanity’s ecological footprint by 50% would move Earth Overshoot Day more than three months later.

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