A healthy mind in a healthy body

In 2020, the world finished all the resources Earth could give it for the entire year on August 22nd.
The 2020 Overshoot Day happened three weeks after the one in 2019 thanks to restrictive measures put in place due to the pandemic.

This day, however, is an average as every country has its own Overshoot Day depending on their level of exploitation of natural resources: in Qatar, for example, that was February 11th, Italy’s was May 14th, while more energy-saving states like Guatemala and Indonesia reached it on November 13th and December 18th respectively.

 The day after Overshoot Day is when we start overusing resources, acting as if we had 1.6 planets at our disposal. The problem? We only have 1, and its resources are limited.

What can we do to turn this trend around and bring back some kind of balance?

The Global Footprint Network,the no-profit organization that every year calculates when the Overshoot Day is, has developed tools that can help in the quest for environmental sustainability. It is also promoting the campaign #MoveTheDate so that this year is not an exception due to unforeseen events but rather a starting point to start a new relationship between the Earth and its inhabitants.

“Sustainability means guaranteeing both environmental balance and people's wellbeing long term. That means that the smaller footprint of 2020 cannot be considered true progress.”
(Laurel Hanscom, CEO of Global Footprint Network)

If we could take back 5 days every year, we could reach a balance between what our planet produces and what we use by 2050. If we continue along today’s path, on the other hand, by 2050 we will need 2 planets instead of 1!

Following that, sustainable development means reaching that threshold where our use of natural resources is less - or at least equal! - to their rate of regeneration. Cities, energy, food, population - these are the key sectors on which we need to concentrate to put in place solutions that are not only available but also advantageous from an economic point of view.

The concept is simple, and quite old too: Juvenal himself in the 1st century AD promoted the idea of a healthy mind in a healthy body, something we can use as a metaphor to say that to take care of ourselves we need to take care of the planet.

But how can we create the conditions for sustainable development?

We cannot go back but we can definitely change our path forward, finding a common ground between man and nature and setting up a better balance between offer and demand.

The demand is quantified by our Carbon Footprint: The higher that is, the more we threaten the planet.
Rethinking our production system, consume in a more critical and sustainable manner, use smarter mobility systems, reduce waste, strengthen our networks, and improve separate waste collection - these are all ways in which we can take care of the planet.

The offer is instead the natural capital nature gives us: the soil, raw materials, water, forests... All those things that our planet gives us.

 And all these Ecosystemic Services are free, to boot!

Using such services in a positive way - something not provided for by traditional economy - is nowadays of great interest, and studying mechanisms to pay nature back is coming to the forefront of the debate.

Summing up, we can find wiser ways to manage natural resources and lower demand, and we can find better ways to manage natural resources to increase offer.

We need to find a balance between mind and body, man and nature, demand and offer, Carbon Footprint and Ecosystemic Services but to do so we need to really change our relationship with the planet. We need to create a new culture, where man is not the destroyer of the environment but rather its guardian and defender.

And we can start that today with the Footprint Calculator, which can help us improve our lifestyle.


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a collective motion, circular and dynamic
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