Earth Overshoot Day
Image credit: SANEDI

The South African National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) is announcing its participation in the global Earth Overshoot Day as from today, 1 August 2018.

This marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

“Globally, we use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate by overfishing, overharvesting forests and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than ecosystems can absorb,” explains Dr Thembakazi Mali, Interim CEO of SANEDI.

This is the equivalent of 1.7 Earths and the date had been creeping backwards steadily, Mali stated.

“As SANEDI, the organisation strives to address the issues of clean, sustainable energy and the importance thereof in economic development and global well-being. Energy innovation and the efficient use of energy are two key components of mitigating these challenges.

“If organisations and people can be informed, educated and committed to their contribution and steps to combat the overshoot impact on the planet, we could move the date back several days through personal and organisational efforts.

“The Ecological Footprint accounting measures a population’s demand for and ecosystems’ supply of resources and services. We urge South Africans to check their ecological footprint and be mindful of this where they can (www.footprintcalculator.org).

SANEDI calls on industry to review the existing, off-the-shelf commercial technologies for buildings, industrial processes and electricity production that could move Overshoot Day at least 21 days, without any loss in productivity or comfort, according to an analysis by researchers from Global Footprint Network and Schneider Electric (www.overshootday.org/energy-retrofit).

“Today, 1 August is an ideal day to begin South Africa’s move towards renewable energy, smarter cities, carbon capture and energy & data knowledge management,” concludes Mali. Read more: Earth Hour: Re-think sustainable business designs and operations