August 22 marked Earth Overshoot Day, when the world's yearly consumption of resources passes beyond sustainable levels.

Luxembourg's own Overshoot Day fell much earlier, according to Luxembourg's Council for Sustainable Development (CSDD).

The Global Footprint Network calculated that Luxembourg had consumed its yearly allowance of ecological resources by February 16.

'In other words, if the global population consumed as many resources as Luxembourg, the yearly sustainable resources available to the world would have been exhausted by that date. If the rest of humanity lived like Luxembourg, eight planets would be need to render that consumption sustainable' writes the CSDD.

'According to these calculations, from mid-February onwards, our population is consuming the resources of future generations and of residents of the Global South, who use up far fewer supplies but are far worse affected by the ecological consequences.'

On a global scale, Earth Overshoot Day fell far later this year compared to last year's 29 July, due to the drop in emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reducing the consumption of meat and luxury products

The study goes on to explain that 'this catastrophic situation is a result of the consumption of energy (fossil fuels and electricity produces from non-sustainable fuels) with 7,75 global hectares [gha] per person (around 60% of Luxembourg's ecological footprint, requiring 4,75 planets.)'

The rest of Luxembourg's excessive consumption comes from a 'food footprint of 2,09 gha per year (requiring 1,28 planets), showing that we can all contribute to a more sustainable society by rethinking and modifying our lifestyle and consumption habits. For example, the use of meat and animal products corresponds alone to 0.65 planets' worth of consumption.'

How to solve this problem? The CSDD recommends a higher energy efficiency, the use of public transport and a reduction in consumption of non-sustainable goods, meat, luxury products and short-distance flights.

A final note for those who advocate working from home: the CSDD highlights the consequences of daily travel to the office, especially for cross-border workers: 'it leads to the waste of energy, a loss of time and the depletion of important infrastucture.' Therefore, 'support for a digital transformation in industry, commerce and public administration could help to reduce CO2 levels. Teleworking allows us to reduce the footprint of commuters.'