One earth doesn't seem to be enough

Each year Earth Overshoot Day marks that date when our demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2021, it falls on July 29.

There is only one Earth, but it doesn't seem enough. With limited or decreasing natural capital, it is obvious that our planet will be unable to provide all of the food, water and energy that humanity needs for almost 11 billion people[1] in the decades ahead.

Each year Earth Overshoot Day marks that date when our demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what earth can regenerate in that year. It is a reminder, that our current way of living and running our economy is unsustainable and that a course correction is urgently needed to push back that date. In 2021, it falls on July 29.

The task of protecting the climate alone is daunting. Extreme weather conditions are becoming more frequent, we are experiencing more drought and storms, and sea levels are rising to a threatening point in many regions. In the next 10 years, we need to cut 197 billion metric tons of CO2[2] to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. That's what was agreed upon the oft-cited Paris Climate Agreement, which all the world's leading nations have signed. [3].

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Reforestation and avoiding deforestation would be effective ways of helping to reach that goal. But in 2019, the tropics lost close to 30 soccer fields’[4] worth of trees every single minute, mostly to agriculture.[5] However, if managed well, the resource of forestry could continue to treat our water, produce oxygen, preserve biodiversity, create renewable building materials and, last but not least, provide millions of jobs in the future.

Pharmaceutical industry in a race against time

The destruction of nature also affects the development of medicines[6]

Verlust von fruchtbaren und gesunden Böden.png

The oceans are equally important as the basis of all life. Overfishing, overheating, acidification and plastic waste characterize their current state. Yet plant life in the ocean has been producing 70 percent of our oxygen for thousands of years, and the oceans absorb a third of all carbon dioxide.[7]. If you were to quantify the economic value of these gigantic masses of water, you would arrive at a figure of 2.5 trillion dollars annually – equivalent to the eighth largest economy in the world. [8].

Preserving the sea, soil and forests and managing them sustainably is worthwhile. After all, about half of the world's population now faces the disadvantages that come with over-intensive land use - dwindling fertility, more frequent droughts and declining biodiversity. Investing in preventing land degradation and restoring natural soils makes sense because the economic benefits far outweigh the costs. On average, each U.S. dollar invested in this would bring a benefit of about $10.[9].

"Given the importance of the oceans to the planet as a whole, and in light of the numerous and massive threats to this habitat, we need to act quickly and comprehensively. To do that, we need smart solutions"

Paul Buchwitz, DWS portfolio manager 

„DWS Focus on" - read now

Loss of fertile and healthy farmland

Just one of the negative consequences of climate change [10]

Verlust von fruchtbaren und gesunden Böden.png

The sustainable livelihoods that planet Earth provides needs to be restored. To do this, we must transform the single use of raw materials into resource cycles, replace fossil fuel energy production with renewable sources, and revitalize ecologically degraded soils, forests and oceans.

Breakthrough technologies are now available that can help us do this. Modern biotechnology, genetics, microelectronics, information technology, propulsion and energy generation technologies have enormous potential to allow us to live sustainably on Earth.

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Paper or plastic? Well, if it were that simple!

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... However, massive financial resources must also be mobilized. We need, for example, to generate energy from algae, to create substitutes for climate-damaging meat production, to renaturalize bodies of water, and to make it possible for aeroplanes powered by solar energy or hydrogen to take off.[11]

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1. *United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects 2019*United Nations Population Division. World Population Prospects 2019

2. https://nature4climate.org/news/saving-the-planet-may-not-as-expensive-as-we-thought/

3. https://nature4climate.org/news/saving-the-planet-may-not-as-expensive-as-we-thought/

4. https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation

5. https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation

6. Source: WEF (January 2020). Nature risk rising.

7. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/activity/save-the-plankton-breathe-freely/?ar_a=1

8. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/human-impact-ocean-economy

9. Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) assessment report on land degradation and restoration. https://zenodo.org/record/3237393#.YGwqmdgzbwJ

10. 1 Hectares = 2.471053814672 Acres; Source: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/biodiversity/

11. All opinions and claims are based upon data on 04/21/2021 and may not come to pass. This information is subject to change at any time, based upon economic, market and other considerations and should not be construed as a recommendation. Forecasts are not a reliable indicator of future performance. Forecasts are based on assumptions, estimates, opinions and hypothetical models that may prove to be incorrect. DWS International GmbH

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