The natural resources of Italy are virtually finished. Today is ours Country Overshoot Day 2022, that is the day when, if the whole world consumed like Italy, we would have exhausted what the Earth can regenerate in twelve months. From now until December – according to the Global Footprint Network – we will therefore have to push the limits of our ecosystems, helping to exhaust them for the next generations. The date falls two days later than in 2021, when it was May 13. But there is little to be happy about. At the current rate, Italians alone would need 2.7 planets to sustain their lifestyle.
To reverse the trend, however, it is not enough decrease consumption: “Overexploitation is cumulative – explains the biologist Lorenzo Masinian activist of Extinction Rebellion Turin and for a few months of the rebellion movement of environmental scientists, Scientist Rebellion – As for CO2 emissions, all the exceedances of the previous decades are added together “. So “to recover and allow the earth to compensate for natural resources, we would have to go negative for a few years”. Avoiding the overshoot for a year “only means slipping a threshold beyond which we will experience a catastrophic situation”.
Food, construction, agriculture, livestock, emissions, but also energy and management of cities and forests. These are the factors that affect, for each State, the Day of the Earth’s over-exploitation or over-exploitation. In particular, the international think tank Global Footprint Network calculates the ecological footprint of the inhabitants every year. It is about the relationship between the biocapacity – that is, the set of biologically productive terrestrial and aquatic surfaces used – and the ability of ecosystems to regenerate them. That of Italy is 4.32 Gha (global hectares).
There is a slight improvement compared to the peaks of early 2000, before the 2008 crisis, when the ratio between our consumption and biocapacity was more than 5: 1. But the situation is still critical. Today we would need 5.3 Italy to meet our demand for natural goods. Worse only the Japan, at 7.9. For many activists, however, the measurement is not fair: “The carbon footprint was invented by the fossil giants in the 1970s – explains Masini – But it tends to make us focus on the responsibilities of the individual and not on those of multinationals and gods large emitters”, Which can have an effective impact in limiting the depletion of natural resources. In fact, 61% of humanity’s ecological footprint is caused by industry emissions of petrolium And gas. “My commitment and my share of emissions as an individual are negligible compared to the actions of those who perhaps use the jet every day or to industries”, says the biologist.
Overshoot day however provides a clear picture of the gap between the populations of the world. Over the past fifty years – shows research published in The Lancet – rich countries have consumed 74% of the planet’s resources, low-middle-income countries less than 1%. The remaining 25% is instead attributed to middle-high income countries. Italy is in eighth place in the world ranking, behind many of the strongest Western economies, such as France, Germany And Use: it has in fact exhausted 31.5 billion tons of excess goods, 3% of those available globally. An impressive figure if you compare it with the South of the Earth which in total consumed just over twice as much. A similar situation is seen with the annual overfishing threshold. “Some will never reach it – like the Bangladesh or the Cameroon -, others will arrive almost at the end of the year. Others had it in March “. The first were Qatar (10 February) – thanks to both the abundance of desert lands, therefore not very productive, and the large investments in infrastructure for World Cup next winter – e Luxembourg (February 14). The date for the United States (8.1 Gha of carbon footprint) and the Canada (8.2 Gha) was March 13: the two countries would need 5.1 Earths respectively to feed the lifestyle of their citizens. Other giants like Australia And Russia ran out of resources between late March and early April, while the China it will do so on June 2nd. This month – according to the Network – 29 countries will exceed the exploitation threshold. Or 28 if you do not include theEuropean Union in its total. If everyone consumed at this rate “we would need 1.75 lands” continues Masini.
In 1971 the earth’s Overshoot day had fallen on December 29, the earth’s balance was then still sustainable. However, globalization has gradually brought the threshold further and further back. Last year the fateful day was July 29th. While to find out that of 2022, we will have to wait for June 5, the World Environment Day. “The reality, however, could be worse than the estimates – explains Masini – There is a lack of data and some parameters are not considered“. Among these, according to the biologist, that of ecosystem services. “Some components of ecosystems, if taken individually, have certain properties. But taken together they bring out new characteristics, useful to us – explains the biologist – The reeds on the edge of waterways, for example, are able to purify it from fertilizers, collaborating with some soil bacteria “. If you then look at the biodiversity, to keep the balance of the various species unaltered, despite current consumption, “we would need 3 Terre”. In general, to reverse the trend, however, it is not enough just to act individually on one’s lifestyle: “Lately, instead of the ecological footprint, we consider the ecological shadow – explains the activist of Extinction Rebellion – This means that, to represent the our impact on the environment, not only measurable parameters count, such as how many kilometers you drive with the car, but also what we project outside. If you cycle to work, but do marketing for an oil company, you are decreasing your carbon footprint, but you have a much bigger shadow ”.