Eight months into 2016, humans have already spent Earth’s ecological budget for the year.
8 August this year, according to the Global Footprint Network.Earth Overshoot Day – the approximate date when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year – is on Monday,
As global consumption rises, we are emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than our oceans and forests can absorb, and we are depleting fisheries and harvesting forests more quickly than they can reproduce and regrow. Put simply, at its current rate, the estimated level of resources and ecosystem services we require to support human activities exceeds what the Earth can provide – to continue living like this, we would require over 1.6 planets.
“Nature’s services are crucial to our well-being, prosperity and happiness, and to our very survival. So we must shift from being irresponsible exploiters to careful stewards and good managers of the planet’s essential, finite resources,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International in a statement published on overshootday.org.
WWF’s “One Planet Perspective” aims to outline better choices for managing, using and sharing natural resources within the planet’s limits – to ensure food, water and energy security for all.
In southern Chile for example, WWF works with local communities, organisations and authorities on a joint conservation strategy for the marine ecoregion. Together, they have helped protect more than 120,000 hectares of marina area, supporting efforts to protect whales and dolphins, allowing fish stocks to recover and building the ecosystem’s resilience to climate change.
In Indonesia, WWF works with communities to harvest ‘liquid gold’ honey in a bid to protect peat swamp forest and habitat for critically endangered orangutans while creating sustainable livelihoods. “Collecting honey is part of our cultural heritage. It’s a tradition,” says Ronnie Mulyadi, a 31-year-old father of two and member of the Buku Tamu honey producers’ association.
Since the community got involved in honey production, the forest is better protected helping create a positive knock-on effect for all biodiversity in the area, including the orangutans. “We want orangutans in the forest because they disperse the seeds for fruit trees. If they are there, we know the forest is in good condition, and bees need a forest in good condition,” adds Mulyadi.
(Source: WWF Global news release, 07.08.2016)