Earth Overshoot – Circular Economy

Posted On Thursday, Jun 20, 2019

We are clearly living beyond our means - consuming more resources than we can regenerate. If we keep borrowing from the future to meet our living today, our future generations will have that much lesser to spend.

Global Footprint network has designed a measure for this imbalance called Earth Overshoot Day.

Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) is the days in a calendar year when humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year.


When viewed through an economic perspective, EOD represents the day in which humanity enters an ecological deficit spending. In 2018, Earth Overshoot Day was on August 1 which means that in less than eight months, we demand more renewable resources than what the planet can provide for an entire year.

Throughout most of history, humanity has used nature’s resources to build cities and roads, to provide food and create products, and to release carbon dioxide at a rate that was well within Earth’s budget. But by the early 1970s, that critical threshold had been crossed: Human consumption began outstripping what the planet could reproduce. According to Global Footprint Network’s calculations, our demand for renewable ecological resources and the services they provide is now equivalent to that of more than 1.5 Earths.

The costs of ecological overspending are becoming more evident over time. Climate change — a result of greenhouse gases being emitted faster than they can be absorbed by forests and oceans — is the most obvious result with widespread effects. Other effects include: shrinking forests, species loss, fisheries collapse, higher commodity prices and civil unrest.

What can we do about it?
Immediately, one instant remedy is to change the economic structure from a lateral economy towards a circular economy. Our world is only 9% circular, meaning that 91% of what we use goes to complete waste. How can we bridge this Circularity Gap?


Source: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/news/research-helps-europe-advance-towards-circular-economy

Regenerate, Redesign and Retain
We need to be regenerative by design, retaining as much value as possible from products, parts and materials. Regulations and incentives can go a long way to further the cause and make our planet more efficient.

When carefully measured, designed, and integrated, the circular economy holds promise for the environment, consumers, businesses and governments. It help us improve resource efficiency, minimise resource extraction, reduce greenhouse gases. It will help us push back the Earth Overshoot Day so we are not overconsuming our existing scarce natural resources. A circular economy mindset is also about collaboration and sharing.

Money has great power to transform industry behavior. Invest in ESG compliant companies that assume leadership roles to drive changes that are beneficial for the planet and society at large.


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