Earth Overshoot Day: #MoveTheDate?

Pollution
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The impact of lockdown on emissions from transport and industry has shifted Earth Overshoot Day more than three weeks back in comparison to 2019 - but we need to do more.

Lockdown's mass impacts on transportation and industry has moved Earth Overshoot Day more than three weeks back in comparison to 2019. 

Earth Overshoot Day - 22 August - marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature's budget for the year.

For the rest of the year, we are maintaining our ecological deficit by drawing down local resource stocks and accumulating carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

To mark Earth Overshoot Day, today, Triodos Bank has suggested five ways in which you can help improve sustainability and #MoveTheDate. During lockdown a third of Brits (33 percent) have focused on making green lifestyle changes to be more sustainable, research by Triodos has found. 

Emissions

People are making environmental lifestyle changes including reducing food waste (32 percent), reducing plastic waste (27 percent), walking or cycling (24 percent) and no longer buying fast fashion (19 percent). 

However, simple lifestyle changes which have the biggest impact languished at the bottom of people’s lockdown lists – such as changing to a 100 percent renewable energy provider (6 percent) and switching to an ethical bank (3 percent). So, what else can you do?

Firstly, move your money to a green, ethical bank. According to NGO BankTrack, the top five UK banks have poured more than £150 billion into financing fossil fuels since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2016, including £45bn for the expansion of fossil fuels, of which £13bn was invested in fracking. In addition, moving your pension fund alone to a green investment is 117 times more impactful than limiting to one return flight a year.

Next, swap to a 100 percent green energy provider. Energy currently makes up the biggest share of our overall Footprint. Annual CO2 emissions for the energy you use at home is around 3.4 tonnes per year. This could be completely cut out by switching to a green energy provider.

Lockdown's mass impacts on transportation and industry has moved Earth Overshoot Day more than three weeks back in comparison to 2019. 

Stop buying fast fashion is also high on the list. The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined. Buying food from local, sustainable farmers is also central. Currently, food production uses over half of our planet’s biocapacity.  Local farms across the UK are supporting wildlife and their communities through sustainable farming. By avoiding intensely farmed, long haul produce significantly reduces the impact your food is having on the planet.

Changing your transportation will make a big difference too. Switching to walking, cycling or an electric vehicle has a dramatic impact on the environment and on air pollution. Decarbonising transport would eliminate 26 percent of UK CO2 emissions. 

Footprint

Lockdown's mass impacts on transportation and industry has moved Earth Overshoot Day more than three weeks back in comparison to 2019. This new date - today - reflects the 9.3 percent reduction of humanity’s Ecological Footprint.

However, we need to continue to change our consumer habits and ensure that people know the most effective way to push back the date. 

Bevis Watts, UK CEO of Triodos Bank UK and chartered environmentalist, commented: “Earth Overshoot Day is a critical reminder that we are living beyond nature’s boundaries. Moving your money to an ethical and green bank is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to substantially tackle the climate crisis and help move the date.”

This Article 

This article is based on a press release from Triodos Bank. 

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