A bad week for the planet

By Pauline Pelous
August 02, 2019

On Monday, July 29, it was Earth Overshoot Day, the date when we globally use more of the world’s natural resources than can be regenerated by the planet in the entire year.

This is the earliest date ever for Earth Overshoot Day which has moved forward two months in the past 20 years — and three days since 2018 — according to the Global Footprint Network (GFN) which calculates the day using United Nations data. 

Destructive consequences

“Earth Overshoot Day falling on July 29 means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.75 Earths,” said the network. “We’ve only got one Earth and this is the ultimately defining context for human existence. We can’t use 1.75 without destructive consequences.”

The ‘overspend’ of the world’s natural resources is leading to hugely damaging build-ups of CO2 and the GFN has renewed its annual call #MoveTheDate to push Earth Overshoot Day back five days each year to enable humanity to live within the planet’s resource limits by 2050.

Sîan Hughes, Knauf Insulation’s Director of External Affairs, said: “For the sake of future generations, it is vital that we all do what we can to tackle the biggest emitters of CO2 and users of energy. Buildings are vitally important in this fight.”

‘We have to step up’

In Europe, for example, buildings consume 36% of CO2 and 40% of all energy as well as use half of all extracted materials and generate a third of all waste.

“We have to step up when it comes to resource efficiency, emissions and energy use. Many countries could learn from the example of the 28 Member States of the European Union — which with the help of EU directives are working on policies designed to decarbonise their buildings by 2050.”

The building industry must also take responsibility for unsustainable practices and find new and innovative ways to optimise resource use, recycle more material and minimise waste.

Up to 80% of our Glass Mineral Wool is made from recycled glass and we are proud to be piloting a number of sustainable initiatives, but of course this is just the start. Earth Overshoot Day is an annual reminder that we must all do more with less. Before it’s too late.”

Visit Earth Overshoot Day to understand how we can all do more to create a sustainable future.