Earth Overshoot Day 2020
This photograph was meant to illustrate the relationship between two of my favourite things - clouds and trees; and the role they play in each other's existence but something happened over this past weekend, that needs to be dwelled upon instead.
Let us just stop for a second and take a look around at the space that we are in and the objects that fill our everyday spaces. Most of the objects you may see are known by names of the purpose they serve, processes they have gone through or materials that comprise them.
However, if you start identifying raw materials that comprise these objects (wood, metals, fossil fuels and all of their respective byproducts, agricultural produce for consumption or material use, etc.) coupled with essentials we need to survive (food, water, air), the great degree to which our lives are intertwined with the planet on a daily basis, may slowly start becoming clearer.
Why do I bring all of this up, though?
August 22nd, this past weekend, marked Earth Overshoot Day 2020.
Simply put, the annual demand for ecological resources by humans exceeded the amount of resources that earth can generate this year. Not on December 31st but 131 days too soon!
This is a data based representation of what we have vs. what we need in 2020, using the clouds as data points.
In simpler times, 1970 to be precise, Earth Overshoot Day fell on December 29th (already a deficit) but ever since then the date has rapidly been advancing leading to a constant upward spike in use of unsustainable resources, aiding climate change.
Are you wondering how great the impact of us staying indoors, curbing travel and commutes globally was on the earth's resources?
While we did manage to push Earth Overshoot Day back by 24 days (it fell on July 29th in 2019 - historically the earliest date on which we've run out of resources) I was taken aback to learn that this merely accounted for a 9.3% reduction in global emissions!
Sources: Earth Overshoot Day, Global Footprint Network, International Institute of Sustainable Development, The Guardian
Calculations and steps to arrive at the final cartographic illustration.