Earth Overshoot Day marks the launch of 100 Days of Possibility leading to COP26

LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA; OAKLAND, CA, USA — JULY 29, 2021 — 100 Days of Possibility is unveiled today, on the Earth Overshoot Day, by sustainability leaders Global Footprint Network and the Scottish EPA. The initiative features proven and scalable solutions that contribute to bringing humanity’s Ecological Footprint in balance with the biological resources that the planet’s natural ecosystems can sustainably regenerate.

With a world still largely unprepared and facing growing concerns about recent extreme weather events, representatives of national governments will gather 100 days from now at what has been deemed the last-chance summit for global climate actionthe UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow.

“There is no benefit in waiting to take action, regardless of what transpires at the COP,” Global Footprint Network CEO Laurel Hanscom said. “The pandemic has demonstrated that societies can shift rapidly in the face of disaster. But being caught unprepared brought great economic and human costs. When it comes to our predictable future of climate change and resource constraints, individuals, institutions, and governments that prepare themselves will fare better. The global consensus is not a prerequisite to recognizing one’s own risk exposure, so let’s take decisive action now, wherever we are,” she added.

Tomaž Gorenc, director of the Institute of Health and the Environment, says: “This summer is again marked by natural disasters, such as floods in Western Europe and China or heat waves caused by climate change. The news that the recovery of the world economy after the epidemic will raise greenhouse gas emissions to record levels also resonated with the public, which indicates the unsustainability and high burden on our natural resources. Therefore, the political ambition and implementation of the international commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement are vital, which gives the COP26 Climate Conference an important opportunity and weight. Environmental issues are important to people, as evidenced by participation in the referendum on the Water Act in Slovenia and a recent Eurobarometer survey that climate change is the most serious problem facing the world for European citizens. This gives hope for change and opportunities for a renaissance into a sustainable society and lower ecological debt and gives politicians the responsibility for ambitious and inclusive action.”

Although heralded by many, the green recovery is slow in coming and business-as-usual still prevails, fueled by short-term political and financial goals. This trajectory invariably leads to unmanageable economic risk, stranding all assets that are incompatible with climate change and increased resource constraints. Sustained prosperity and wellbeing, however, requires ingenuity to address humanity’s most pressing problem: ecological overshoot.

Fortunately, many solutions already exist today to reverse overshoot and support biological regeneration. 100DaysofPossibility.org will reveal opportunities every day up to COP26. Examples that #MoveTheDate include food waste reduction, refrigerants management, short-chain food systems, smart energy, low-carbon cement, municipal footprint-driven development strategies, and low-impact ecotourism.

“We need three to five times more action to reduce CO2 emissions in view of meeting the Paris Agreement 1.5°C trajectory,” states Olivier Blum, Schneider Electric’s Chief Strategy and Sustainability Officer. “To meet this challenge together, the focus must now be on concrete actions with short-term impact, namely the adoption of digital and electric technology and solutions that exist today.”

Opportunities stem from all sectors of the economy: commercially available technologies or services, local governments’ development strategies, national public policies, or best practices supported by civil society initiatives and the academia. Tomaž Gorenc (IHE and Sustainaware coordinator) also pointed out: “In this manner, capacity-building projects such as Sustainaware, funded by European Climate Initiative, are so important, because climate challenges can be tackled only internationally.”

“Adopting one-planet prosperity as our true North has transformed the way our regulatory agency interacts with, and supports, our Scottish business community. Beyond enforcing the law, we help them envision what their success will look like in a decarbonized and dematerialized economy and make strategic decisions accordingly,” the Scottish EPA CEO Terry A’Hearn said.

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