Earth Overshoot Day begins 100 Days of Possibility leading to Cop26

Initiative will suggest ways to balance needs with what the planet’s natural ecosystems can sustainably regenerate

The 100 Days of Possibility initiative will be launched on Thursday to coincide with Earth Overshoot Day, when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what the planet can regenerate.

It runs for 100 days, from Earth Overshoot Day to Cop26, and is led by the Global Footprint Network and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

On every day, the initiative will show new ways in which existing technology can displace normal practices and bring humanity’s ecological footprint into balance with regeneration.

Examples that #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day include food waste reduction, management of refrigerants, short-chain food systems, smart energy, low-carbon cement, municipal development strategies and low-impact ecotourism.

“There is no benefit in waiting to take action, regardless of what transpires at the Cop26,” Global Footprint Network chief executive Laurel Hanscom said.

“The pandemic has demonstrated that societies can shift rapidly in the face of disaster. But being caught unprepared brought great economic and human cost.

“When it comes to our predictable future of climate change and resource constraints, individuals, institutions and governments who prepare themselves will fare better.

“Global consensus is not a prerequisite to recognising one’s own risk exposure, so let’s take decisive action now, wherever we are.”

The network says that the green recovery is slow in coming and normal practices still prevail, fuelled by short-term political and financial goals.

This invariably leads to unmanageable economic risk, leading to assets that are incompatible with climate change and increased resource constraints.

Sustained prosperity and well-being, however, requires ingenuity to address humanity’s most pressing problem, that of ecological overshoot.

“We need three to five times more action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in view of meeting the Paris Agreement 1.5°C trajectory,” says Olivier Blum, Schneider Electric’s chief strategy and sustainability officer.

“To meet this challenge together, the focus must now be on concrete actions with short-term impact, namely the adoption of digital and electric technology and solutions that exist today.”

The organisation says that all is not yet lost and fortunately many solutions already exist to reverse overshoot and support biological regeneration.

Opportunities stem from all sectors of the economy: commercially available technologies or services, local governments’ development strategies, national public policies, or best practices supported by civil society initiatives and academia.

Updated: July 28th 2021, 11:17 PM