Today is officially Earth Overshoot Day 2022, the date when humanity has used all the biological resources that Earth regenerates during the entire year. We asked three members of the Alliance team to share their thoughts about what rapid transition they would like to see to #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day.
The concept of Earth Overshoot Day was first conceived by founder of the Rapid Transition Alliance, Andrew Simms, and is now calculated and shared by the Global Footprint Network and its partners. It is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year.
At the Alliance we share ‘evidence-based hope’ to show that rapid transformative changes are required to prevent climate breakdown. Here our team points to three areas of hope and we share resources to show how rapid transitions in these areas can be achieved.
A rapid transition to clean and lower energy use can bring jobs, a wide range of health benefits, cleaner air and a more stable climate. Evidence shows that where communities own and develop renewable energy schemes the benefits spread more broadly and any problems are more easily overcome. It’s around energy that some of the most rapid and promising changes are happening right now.
During the global Covid-19 pandemic people changed their behaviours quickly and at scale. At the beginning of 2021 we began to collect ‘lessons from lockdown’ to examine the trends in behaviour and systemic change that were emerging during the pandemic. Two of the big shifts we identified were an increased awareness of our own over-consumption across wealthier parts of the world, and a huge reduction in what became “unnecessary travel” – including commuting, holidays and business journeys.
While too many people across the world still struggle to feed, clothe and house themselves in safety, the rest of us are consuming way beyond what is sustainable. This is driven by an economic system that supports growth without thought for what have traditionally been called “externalities” – the natural world and human health and wellbeing. So, while it won’t solve climate change alone, cutting overconsumption is vital, where it is possible. We look at ways this has been done successfully in the past, and discuss how it can be done faster and at scale.