29 July 2021 is Earth’s Overshoot Day: How 1.5 Degree Lifestyles can help to #MoveTheDate
Today is the Earth Overshoot Day, the day of the year when global demand for ecological resources and services exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. To make an analogy, today we have spent all our annual income, from tomorrow we start eroding our savings.
The Overshoot Day is calculated by the Global Footprint Network (GFN) and is coming earlier and earlier during the year. It was on November 4 in 1980, on October 10 in 1990, on August 6 in 2010, and on July 26 in 2019.
The main driver for this year’s Overshoot Day were carbon emissions, which increased by 6.6% compared to 2020. This happened despite the sharp drop registered during the first half of the year due to lockdown restrictions enforced in many countries.
Around Overshoot Day, the GFN shares solutions of measurable impact for reducing human pressures on the environment and shift the Overshoot Day in the future under the hashtag #MoveTheDate.
In line with this solution-oriented approach, the Hot or Cool Institute is working with partners for identifying and experimenting low-carbon lifestyle options and measuring their impacts for mitigating climate change and achieving the 1.5 ֯C target of the Paris Agreement.
The influential report “1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Targets and options for reducing lifestyle carbon footprints” explored many alternative ways of consuming within Earth’s ecological limits. These alternatives include switching to low-meat content diets, using public transport, using renewable energy sources for heating and cooling, and many others.
With our partners at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), we engaged with citizens adopting 1.5-Degree Lifestyles in a series of household experiments in six cities in Brazil, India, South Africa, Thailand, and Japan.
The results, presented at the event “Fostering 1.5 degrees lifestyles with urban partnerships” on July 22nd, show that high adoption rates for sustainable lifestyles are possible but require enabling conditions, including more ambitious policies and changes in the production systems.
In autumn we will publish the 2021 version of the 1.5-degree lifestyles report, exploring how reducing our carbon footprint could be done in a fair and equitable way.
At Hot or Cool we are, and will be, working for envisioning, assessing, and implementing lifestyle solutions for enabling a transition to a sustainable society and move the Overshoot Day further down the line.