Earth Overshoot Day, 2014
Twenty five-year-old Himal earns Rs. 20,000 a month but as of 18 August this year, he has already spent his entire yearly income of Rs. 240,000. Himal will start paying rest of the year's bills with his credit card.
Similarly, today we exceed the nature’s entire budget for the year. August 19, 2014 is Earth Overshoot Day - the day our ecological footprint in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year, according to data from Global Footprint Network - an international sustainability think tank and WWF partner.
Earth Overshot Day has moved from 21 October in 2000 to 19 August this year. For the rest of 2014, we are “in the red” – effectively overdrawn on the balance sheet of nature’s goods and services that we require to survive.
Based on ecological footprint data – measuring the quantity of Earth’s natural resources, how much we use and who uses what – Earth Overshoot Day raises awareness on the concept of living unsustainably.
Next month, WWF will release its biennial flagship publication - the Living Planet Report 2014 - that measures the health of the planet and the impact of human activity. WWF works together with the Global Footprint Network for the Living Planet Report.
Forests are shrinking, freshwater resources are dwindling, land is depleting and biological diversity is being depleted. But WWF believes by taking action now, the trend can be reversed. Hence, the WWF Living Himalayas Initiative works with the three east-Himalayan governments of India, Nepal and Bhutan to maintain a living Himalayas in the face of unsustainable development.
“Ecological Footprint is an important measure to understand the impact of human development and consumption on limited resources available on the planet, which we fully depend on,” said Sami Tornikoski, leader of the WWF Living Himalayas Initiative. “Since the impacts and consequences of the choices we make are often felt in other countries, it is of utmost importance that countries are able work with each other to come up with solutions both for people and nature.”
Being located in perhaps one of the most fragile ecology on earth, the Living Himalayas Initiative urges a strong regional collaboration to ensure that people in this region - where ecological interconnectedness take heightened reality - live within the ecological means and remain within the boundaries of One Planet.
“WWF’s Living Himalayas regional initiative promotes regional collaboration and solutions between India, Nepal and Bhutan so that people and the natural world could prosper for decades to come against the context of increasing impacts of climate change,” said Sami.
Also closer to home, the Philippines is on track to adopt the Ecological Footprint at the national level – the first country in Southeast Asia to do so – via its National Land Use Act, according to a press release from the Global Footprint Network. This policy is designed to protect areas from haphazard development and plan for the country’s use and management of its own physical resources. The Network says that the legislators are seeking to integrate the Ecological Footprint into the national policy, placing resources at the center of decision-making.