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WWF-New Zealand: News

  • Merging fashion and conservation to protect our ocean

    Woman and man in WWF tee-shirts each wearing a pair of ReefCycle sunglasses, made from recycled fishing net. <br />© WWF-Australia

    WWF-New Zealand is joining forces with Arise Collective to help clean up our oceans through fashion! Together, they're introducing Aotearoa to these stylish, sustainable sunglasses upcycled from a dangerous commercial set net (gill net) from the Northern Great Barrier Reef.

    Their collaboration aims to help keep marine life safe and our oceans clean. Each year an estimated 98,228 marine animals, including dolphins, dugongs and turtles, are caught in these deadly commercial set (gill) nets on Queensland's east coast. So in 2018, WWF-Australia supporters bought and removed the last full-time commercial gill net from the northern Great Barrier Reef.

    The net was cut, melted, and moulded into these one-of-a-kind sunglasses called ReefCycle. Originally launched in Australia, the sunnies are now available for purchase in New Zealand with 50 percent of all proceeds going back to WWF for its essential conservation work. Every pair purchased helps to remove even more plastic from our oceans thanks to the expansion into New Zealand.

    "Arise Collective, as a brand, stands for helping to build a better world and we really believe that this initiative is helping to do so by making our oceans cleaner one pair of sunglasses at a time", says Julia Ritchie, Arise Collective brand manager.

    The grim statistics show 8 million tonnes of plastic, including harmful fishing nets, end up in our oceans every year. The collaboration between WWF and Arise has directly helped make a dent in this terrible reality by not only removing the net, but upcycling it into something useful. With 50% of the proceeds going back into further conservation work through WWF-New Zealand, your purchase also helps support their work from sea to sky to ensure Kiwis are living in harmony with nature.

    "WWF-New Zealand is thrilled to partner with Arise to bring ReefCycle sunnies to Aotearoa. We are passionate about using innovative solutions to solve our environment's greatest problems. Not only are we protecting our ocean wildlife and minimising waste, but we are able to upcycle them into a fashionable, fun project that helps fund our vital work now, and into the future," says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO.

    ReefCycle sunglasses come in three different lens colours (brown, grey and green) and can be polarised or non-polarised. They cost $99 for regular, $149 for polarised, and a prescription option is also available.

    Remember- the more sunglasses sold, the more plastic we can remove from our oceans.

    Purchase your pair here now. Available exclusively at SmartBuyGlasses.co.nz

  • IUCN recognises Aotearoa's marine mammal diversity by declaring nine Important Marine Mammal Areas

    Pygmy blue whale<br />© naturepl.com / Franco Banfi / WWF

    Great news for our marine mammals! The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) are declaring NINE Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in New Zealand. The world's top marine mammal scientists at the IUCN recognise the incredible marine mammal diversity in New Zealand. This recognition makes it easier for policymakers to know where we need focus protection for our taonga species like whales, dolphins, and sea lions.

    Our nine IMMAs are:

    • Rangitāhua (Kermadec Islands area)
    • Tīkapa Moana/Te Moananui ā Toi Hauraki (for its rare species and high diversity)
    • Central West Coast of the North Island (for Māui dolphins)
    • South Taranaki Bight (for its incredible diversity (at least 35 species), pygmy blue whales, and it being a Māui and Hector's dolphin corridor)
    • Hikurangi Trench (for its huge diversity of marine mammals)
    • Marlborough Sounds and Cook Straight (for its rare and endangered species, important movement and migration route, and marine mammal diversity)
    • Kaikōura
    • Rakiura Stewart Island and Te Ara A Kiwa
    • Sub-Antarctic Islands

    While IMMAs aren't protected areas themselves, they do identify critical habitats of precious biodiversity. They also provide scientific data which helps inform the management and protection of these areas.

    "To be recognised at all by the IUCN is an honour, but for them to recognise nine IMMAs in Aotearoa is incredible! Our big blue backyard is filled with the most magnificent megafauna. They are our taonga and it is our duty to protect them. This is a significant foundation for us to build better marine protected areas for our ocean," says Dr. Aroha Spinks, WWF Environmental Science Director.

  • WWF-New Zealand Reviews Green Party's Ocean Policies

    wwf_logo_750_x_600.jpg<br />© wwf

    Today the Green Party announced their "Thriving Oceans Plan" to highlight their Ocean policies to build a thriving ocean.

    Every single life on our planet is dependent on the ocean. It's one of the world's greatest resources. It produces food and oxygen, regulates our climate and supports the lives, and livelihoods, of every single person on Earth.

    "Aotearoa is kaitiaki of the 4th largest EEZ in the world, that's 15x the size of our land. We currently protect 30% of our lands, but only fully protect 0.04% of our ocean. For decades, efforts to create ocean policy to restore ocean health has been abysmal," says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO.

    WWF-New Zealand has long advocated for a healthy, resilient ocean and is currently running a targeted campaign to place our ocean on the electoral agenda. We welcome this acknowledgement from the Green Party. We look forward to the other political parties laying out their ocean policies to help ensure a thriving and resilient ocean for future generations.

    Overall, like many other parties, the Green Party's ocean policies broadly align with many of WWF's ocean policy positions. In the end, we know, it is one thing to have a plan. This plan looks good on paper, however, we need more than a plan. Effective results will only come through strong leadership, true partnership with tangata whenua, and urgent action.

    "As we heard at our ocean forum on Thursday, The COVID crisis has show that when Aotearoa is called upon to make difficult and monumental changes, we can do this quickly. We need to use this same sense of urgency with our ocean. We already have collapsing fish stocks, unswimmable beaches, and are destroying ecosystems at a rapid pace. We cannot continue to make excuses or delay. This next government, whoever it may be, must stand up for our ocean," says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO.

    "Our ocean forum also showed our political parties (Greens, Labour, Māori, National, and TOP) agree on far more than they disagree. It was heartening to see they all believe we need better policy and greater action to protect our moana for our future. We saw cross-party support for climate change last year, now they must do the same for our ocean."

    WWF-New Zealand has 10 policy positions as part of our ocean campaign. Many of these asks are reflected within the Green Party's plan, here is our assessment of their plan:

    1. "Protect at least 30% of Aotearoa's oceans by 2030": WWF is pleased the Greens have adopted the policy we have been advocating for many years. It is important they have acknowledged this needs to recognise Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This should be done in true partnership with tangata whenua. (see here to see how other parties feel on this issue) While they supported WWF's call to protect Rangitāhua in our ocean campaign, we are sad to see the glaring omission from this policy regarding some of our unique ecological habitats including, Rangitāhua/Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary and Motu Ihupuku/Campbell Island.
    2. "Begin to develop a new way of managing fisheries based on holistic ecosystem management": WWF advocates for ecosystem based management and ensuring our fisheries management allows for abundance and resilience against climate change impacts. 
    3. "Introduce comprehensive marine spatial planning": WWF supports marine spatial planning. It is important that marine protection and conservation goals are an integral part of the planning process. Protecting 30% of our marine habitats should be a bottom-line in the planning process along with other conservation goals.
    4. "Ban the most harmful commercial fishing practices": WWF is strongly supportive of banning bottom trawling on seamounts but there are other vulnerable marine ecosystems that also need to be protected from this destructive practice. WWF has always supported the removal of set-netting from the habitats of vulnerable marine species. We must also ensure marine mammal sanctuaries are protected from seismic surveying which is not clearly stated in this plan.
    5. "Restore the health and abundance of the Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana/Te Moananui a Toi": WWF thinks restoring the health and abundance of this critical part of our environment is absolutely essential. This area has suffered significant losses. Crayfish and snapper have all but disappeared. In many areas, kina have taken over and the seabed is suffocating under sediment and plastic because of increased run-off, poor land use practices, and the overharvesting of fish. This has left many local beaches unsafe for swimming and locals unable to catch a fish. In order to restore the gulf, it needs a cross-sectoral concerted effort between government, fishers, community groups, iwi/hapū/ whānau, agriculture, and industry. Implementing new marine protected areas in the Hauraki Gulf should be a priority.
    6. "Invest up to $50 million to help fishers transition": WWF believes in people living in harmony with nature. Helping fishers transition to safer, more sustainable methods will help the environment and communities thrive, however we are unsure $50 million will go far enough to ensure a just transition.
    7. "Support robust and well-resourced monitoring and enforcement of fisheries": WWF believes in order to achieve sustainable fisheries, we must also have transparency, accountability, and sufficient data to better manage stocks for abundance and resilience. This can be achieved through cameras on boats, traceability, and other effective monitoring tools. We support the proposal for increasing research dollars, particularly for a greater number of stock and ecosystem assessments.
    8. "Ensure less plastic ends up in our oceans": WWF science shows that people consume nearly a credit card of plastic a week and plastics have reached the greatest depths of our ocean. Any efforts to reduce the amount of plastic entering our environment is welcome. This not only will protect humans but also our precious taonga species.
    9. "Support local marine conservation effort": WWF currently supports community conservation projects across the country. We believe community and indigenous led efforts are essential to achieve protected and well managed coastal ecosystems and are pleased to see a financial commitment to support these efforts.
    10. "Global Oceans Treaty": New Zealand needs to show greater leadership in international fora such as, negotiations on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) and CBD negotiations for a new global biodiversity framework.

  • WWF-New Zealand to host a political debate for our ocean

    Our Moana, Our Future - ocean forum<br />© WWF New Zealand

    On 17 September, WWF-New Zealand are hosting a socially-distanced event in Wellington called Our Moana, Our Future - a political debate on the issues affecting our ocean.

    Moderated by RNZ Morning Report's Corin Dann, the event will see representatives from our leading parties go on record about their marine policies and go head-to-head about the future they envision for our ocean. Speakers will be Greens Co-Leader Hon James Shaw, National Party Environment Spokesman Hon Scott Simpson, Māori Party candidate for Te Tai Tonga Tākuta Ferris, and Labour List MP Angie Warren-Clark.

    Our Moana, Our Future will be held from 6pm - 7pm and the public can watch a livestream of the full event on WWF-New Zealand's Facebook page, or YouTube channel.

    Aotearoa is responsible for the fourth largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world and we are defined by the vast ocean that surrounds us. It is essential we work together to build resilience into our marine ecosystems. We need action from our leaders now if we want a thriving, abundant moana for future generations. Which party is prioritising the health and well-being of our ocean?

    This debate occurs two weeks after WWF-New Zealand's launch of a new digital campaign demanding our ocean's health finally become an election issue. This campaign has received significant public support and now WWF is bringing the issue of ocean health to our political parties for debate.

    The event will be socially distanced and the number of guests will be strictly in line with the current COVID-19 Level 2 restrictions.

    Visit wwf.org.nz/standforourocean to see more details on the campaign.

  • WWF-New Zealand applauds putting farming practices on the agenda

    Cow in the South Island, New Zealand<br />© Eric Schroen"We applaud the Green Party for putting unsustainable farming practices on the agenda this election.

    As was stated this week in WWF's Living Planet 2020 Report, we have seen a decline in global wildlife populations by 68% over the last 50 years.

    The way we grow, produce, and consume food is one of the biggest contributors to the decline of wildlife and biodiversity.

    As a food producing nation, Aotearoa has the potential to be at the forefront in sustainable and regenerative farming practices. By proactively working with farmers on sustainable practices, focusing on the health of our soil, and shopping locally, Aotearoa could lead the world in 'bending the curve' of biodiversity loss and ultimately sustain ourselves as a species," says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO

  • WWF's Living Planet 2020 Report reveals two-thirds decline in wildlife populations on average since 1970

    Cover of the Living Planet Report 2020<br />© WWF New Zealand

    • Causes include same environmental destruction - such as deforestation, unsustainable agriculture and the illegal wildlife trade - which contributes to virus outbreaks like COVID-19
    • WWF is calling for urgent action to reverse the trend by 2030 by ending the destruction of natural habitats and reforming our food system

    In less than half a century, global populations* of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish have suffered an average two-thirds decline. The very same environmental destruction which is contributing to the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19 is also largely behind the decline, according to WWF's Living Planet Report 2020, released today.

    The Living Planet Index (LPI), provided by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), shows the factors believed to increase the planet's vulnerability to pandemics - including land-use change and the use and trade of wildlife - were also some of the drivers behind the 68 per cent average decline in global vertebrate species populations between 1970 and 2016.

    "Every single life on our planet is intricately connected. Our very survival is dependent on one another. Each plant, animal, and microorganism has a role to play, and by working together in harmony this biodiversity of nature ensures we each have food to eat, air to breathe, and water to drink. This connection comes with the responsibility of kaitiakitanga: to care for the environment, so our environment will care for us. The Living Planet Report 2020 shows we have not been good caretakers but there's still hope," says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand Chief Executive.

    "The Living Planet Report 2020 underlines how humanity's increasing destruction of nature is having catastrophic impacts not only on wildlife populations but also on human health and all aspects of our lives," said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.

    "We can't ignore the evidence – these serious declines in wildlife species populations are an indicator that nature is unravelling and that our planet is flashing red warning signs of systems failure. From the fish in our oceans and rivers to bees which play a crucial role in our agricultural production, the decline of wildlife affects directly nutrition, food security, and the livelihoods of billions of people."

    He added: "In the midst of a global pandemic, it is now more important than ever to take unprecedented and coordinated global action to halt and start to reverse the loss of biodiversity and wildlife populations across the globe by the end of the decade, and protect our future health and livelihoods. Our own survival increasingly depends on it."

    The Living Planet Report 2020 presents a comprehensive overview of the state of our natural world through the Living Planning Index (LPI), which tracks trends in global wildlife abundance, and contributions from more than 125 experts from around the world. It shows that the main cause of the dramatic decline in species populations is due to habitat loss and degradation, including deforestation, driven by how we produce food.

    The LPI, which tracked almost 21,000 populations of more than 4,000 vertebrate species between 1970 and 2016, also shows that wildlife populations found in freshwater habitats have suffered a decline of 84 per cent - the starkest average population decline in any biome, equivalent to 4 per cent per year since 1970.

    We see similar declines across Aotearoa. According to New Zealand's Ministry for the Environment, 76% of freshwater fish are threatened with extinction, 4,000 of our native species are endangered, two-thirds of our rivers are unswimmable, and less than 1% of our marine environment is protected despite being under threat.

    "As a food producing nation, New Zealand is not immune to the negative impacts and pressures facing our environment. However, we often punch above our weight. This is the perfect opportunity to do so again. I believe we can be world leaders in creating a sustainability framework through policy, agriculture, and business that can halt the decline and reverse it," says Esterhazy.

    She continues, "There are some fantastic conservation success stories in New Zealand. We have great farmers, fishers, communities, and organisations leading the way of working in harmony with nature. But we won't reverse the decline in nature with only a few shining stars. We need to commit to larger conservation efforts in conjunction with the transformation of modern food production systems and consumption patterns."

    The LPR 2020 also includes pioneering modelling which shows that without further efforts to counteract habitat loss and degradation, global biodiversity will continue to decline. This work is based on a paper, 'Bending the curve of terrestrial biodiversity needs an integrated strategy,' co-authored by WWF and more than 40 NGOs and academic institutions and published today in Nature. We can 'bend the curve' - stabilizing and reversing the loss of nature - but only if we adopt bolder, more ambitious conservation efforts and transformational changes are made to the way we produce and consume food. Changes needed include making food production and trade more efficient and ecologically sustainable, reducing waste, and favouring healthier and more environmentally-friendly diets.

    The Living Planet Report 2020 launches less than a week before the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, when leaders are expected to review the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The UNGA 2020 will bring together world leaders, businesses and civil society to develop the post-2020 framework for action for global biodiversity and thus marks a milestone moment to set the groundwork for an urgently needed New Deal for Nature and People.

    The New Deal for Nature means we commit to halving the footprint of production and consumption, zero loss of natural habitats, and zero species extinction by 2030.

    Lambertini said: "The Bending the Curve modelling provides invaluable evidence that if we are to have any hope of restoring nature to provide current and future generations of people with what they need, then world leaders must - in addition to conservation efforts - make our food system more sustainable and take deforestation - one of the main causes of wildlife population decline - out of supply chains.

    "With leaders gathering virtually for the UN General Assembly in a few days' time, this research can help us secure a New Deal for Nature and People which will be key to the long-term survival of wildlife, plant and insect populations and the whole of nature, including humankind. A New Deal has never been needed more."

    Esterhazy says, "We need to hold ourselves accountable through the choices we make, our businesses accountable with our wallets, and governments accountable through our ballots. We must be accountable for nature and for ourselves."

    For more information on Living Planet 2020, visit: https://livingplanet.panda.org/en-nz

    Supporters are invited to add their names to WWF's petition which can be found at: panda.org/pandemics and help call on world leaders to implement policy frameworks and action plans that implement a 'One Health' approach which ensures they are doing all they can to protect us from future pandemics.

  • Cameras on Boats is a big step to bring our fishing industry into the 21st Century

    Report, coming just before the annual ICCAT meeting, further challenges fishing nations to make good on recent promises to seriously address the 40 plus year record of rampant over-fishing of bluefin tuna<br />© © Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock / WWF

    WWF applauds the Government's big step to bring our fisheries into the 21st century with a $40-60 million investment into onboard cameras. This long awaited announcement will improve the accountability and transparency in nearly half of our inshore fisheries catch.

    "Minister Nash says the most important thing to do is to rely 'on the science.' WWF agrees because as a science-based organisation, the science tells us that cameras on boats dramatically improves the accuracy of reported by-catch. We need this robust science to know how to better manage this threat," says WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy.

    "Cameras on boats creates certainty around the impact fishing has on fish stocks and protected species such as seabirds, seals, dolphins, and whales. The fishing industry today acknowledged the current uncertainty and unreliability of data frustrates fisheries management. Cameras on boats is a ready-made solution that is already working in other countries," Esterhazy says.

    WWF commends the focus placed on the vessels that are a high risk for our protected species. "We are particularly pleased that the 30-35 vessels in the tuna and swordfish long-lining boats that pose the highest risk to the critically threatened Antipodean Albatross, are included in this programme. This species is in freefall, so we must act now to save it and can't wait for the next funding round. These cameras will help quantify the bycatch problem, and help to enforce legal requirements for vessels to use seabird-safe methods," says Amanda Leathers, Marine Species Programme Manager.

    WWF is encouraged by the investment of public funds to kick start this work. However, the cost of maintaining the technology should lie with industry, rather than the rate payer.

    Increasing transparency and accountability in our oceans is the very least we can do to begin to the restore the health of our moana. Over 80% of New Zealanders want better protection for our ocean. This is a great step towards making that happen.

  • WWF-New Zealand is taking a stand for our ocean

    Will you stand for our ocean this election? Oceans campaign<br />© WWF New Zealand

    This election, WWF is amplifying the voices of New Zealanders as they call for a better protected ocean.

    On Monday 31 August, WWF-New Zealand launched a new digital campaign, demanding our political leaders finally make ocean health an election issue - a joint call with the voices of marine and climate scientists, Māori leaders, young ocean activists, and many other New Zealanders. Less than 1% of Aotearoa's coastal and marine area is fully protected. 80% of New Zealanders - including 91% of our youth, and 88% of Māori – agree that we must do more.

    Every single life on our planet is dependent on the ocean. It's one of the world's greatest resources. It produces food and oxygen, regulates our climate and supports the lives, and livelihoods, of every single person on Earth.

    "Protecting New Zealand's moana is more than just conservation and management," says Environmental Science Director, Dr Aroha Spinks.

    "It is about replenishing the mauri - the lifeforce - of our ocean. Our new campaign gives anyone the opportunity to stand for the ocean with us. We need to act now if we want to ensure a thriving, abundant moana for future generations."

    The campaign calls for:

    • Effective protection of one third of our coastal and marine area
    • Transparent and sustainable fisheries
    • Protection of our threatened and endangered marine species.

    WWF-New Zealand will be holding our political leaders accountable by publishing, on their website, which marine policies our leading political parties agree with. These details will be updated if a party's position changes throughout the campaign period.

    There are a number of ways the public can add their voice - including signing a letter addressed to the future Prime Minister, sharing campaign content on social media, or creating a short video explaining why it's important to protect our ocean.

     

    For more information or to request and interview, contact: Caroline Bruner, Media & Content Manager, cbruner@wwf.org.nz

    Follow WWF-New Zealand on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates – or visit wwf.org.nz/standforourocean to see more details.

  • VELUX, in partnership with WWF, commits to capture its historical carbon footprint and become Lifetime Carbon Neutral

    VELUX partnership<br />© WWF New Zealand

    The VELUX Group commits to reduce its future carbon emissions and capture its historical carbon footprint since it was founded in 1941 – totalling 5.6 million tonnes of CO2. This will be achieved in collaboration with WWF and through forest projects that will tackle climate change and halt habitat loss, preserving biodiversity and improving local livelihoods.

    Copenhagen; September 1st, 2020 – The VELUX Group today announced its new commitment to become Lifetime Carbon Neutral by its 100th anniversary in 2041. This commitment will see the world's leading roof window manufacturer's historical carbon footprinti – 5.6 million tonnes of CO2 (scope 1 and 2ii) emitted since it was founded in 1941 – captured in forest conservation projects run by WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature).Looking to the future, the VELUX Group also commits to dramatically cut the carbon emissions of its company and value chain (scope 1, 2 and 3iii) in line with the Paris Agreement's most ambitious 1.5°C reduction pathway.

    Lifetime Carbon Neutral is a pioneering new commitment initiated by the VELUX Group and developed together with WWF International to take responsibility for both past and future carbon emissions. This innovative commitment will capture VELUX historic carbon footprint and at the same time preserve invaluable natural forests and wildlife around the world for current and future generations.

    David Briggs, CEO of the VELUX Group said: "The planet is facing a serious climate and nature crisis and this requires extraordinary action. According to our values as a company, we strive to do more than most, so that's why we have developed Lifetime Carbon Neutral. It's an innovative commitment involving a 20-year partnership with WWF International to capture the equivalent of our historical carbon emissions by 2041. We will also dramatically reduce our future CO2 emissions and ask our suppliers to do the same. Hopefully other companies will be inspired to become 'Lifetime Carbon Neutral' in order to create a sustainable future for all."

    The VELUX Group will work with WWF to become Lifetime Carbon Neutral by investing in forest and biodiversity projects developed specifically for VELUX over the next 21 years. This will help halt habitat loss, deforestation and land degradation threatening the biodiversity of forest ecosystems around the world, while working with and benefiting local communities. The first two of these forest projects will take place in Uganda and Myanmar.

    In Uganda, the focus will be on restoring degraded forests, growing new forests, and protecting the remaining natural forests through a broad range of measures. The project will also grow trees in woodlots, other agroforestry systems, and plantations outside protected areas to meet demand for various forest products and reduce pressure on natural forests. The project in Myanmar will work to conserve unique biodiversity and forest landscape of Tanintharyi township of Myanmar, in close collaboration with and to the benefit of local communities.

    "With the impacts of the climate and nature crises becoming increasingly clear, ambition and action is urgently needed to build a more resilient and sustainable future for all. The VELUX Group's Lifetime Carbon Neutral commitment is an important step for others to follow, said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

    "Embracing a commitment aligned with a 1.5°C world while also protecting important forest landscapes and biodiversity - and the crucial services they provide to communities and the economy - is in line with a climate responsible and nature positive future that will serve as the foundation for achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals. Together, we hope that other organisations will be inspired by the VELUX Lifetime Carbon Neutral commitment and raise the bar for corporate climate and nature action globally."

    The partnership with WWF sits within the VELUX Group's Sustainability Strategy 2030, which includes committing to set a science-based emissions reduction target through the Science Based Targets initiative. To transform its business, the VELUX Group will accelerate investments in energy efficiency at its production sites, shift to renewable energy and purchase 100% renewable electricity, as well as substantially change the way it specifies and purchases materials.

    For more information on VELUX Lifetime Carbon Neutral and the forest conservation projects at the heart of the partnership with WWF, please visit velux.com/itsournature.

  • 22 August - The World Starts Living on Borrowed Time

    Earth from space<br />© NASA

    We are a day away from when our planet starts living on borrowed time. Earth Overshoot Day 2020 is August 22. This is the day when humanity has used all of our planet's natural ecological resources and moves into overdraft. The costs of this global ecological overspending is seen in deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    Humanity as a whole is currently using nature 1.6 times faster than our planet's ecosystems can regenerate. That is akin to using 1.6 Earths.

    According to the Global Footprint Network, 2020's Earth Overshoot Day lands more than three weeks (July 29) later than in 2019. This new date is a direct consequence of the coronavirus-induced lockdowns around the world.

    "This shift in the year-to-year date of Earth Overshoot Day represents the greatest ever single-year shift since the beginning of global overshoot in the early 1970s. In several instances the date was pushed back temporarily, such as in the aftermath of the post-2008 Great Recession, but the general trend remains that of a consistent upward trajectory." – Earth Overshoot Calculation Report 2020.

    "No business could survive operating in this kind of deficit. Neither can nature. Our health and well-being is directly linked to the health of our planet, so by protecting nature, we protect ourselves. This is our chance to build a better future, one in which we live in harmony with nature. Together, it's possible to restore the balance between people and nature," says Livia Esterhazy, WWF-New Zealand CEO.

    While Aotearoa is tackling COVID-19 hard and early, we are not doing as well with our ecological resources. If the world lived like New Zealand, we would reach our Earth Overshoot Day on May 5th. It's a shocking reminder that we can, and must, do better.

    Moving the date of Earth Overshoot Day back 5 days each year would allow humanity to reach one-planet compatibility before 2050. Solutions that #MoveTheDate are available and financially advantageous. The #MoveTheDate Solutions Map invites people to champion existing solutions. Users can also connect with each other on the basis of geography and focus of interest, accelerating the implementation of new projects in the real world. Significant opportunities are to be found in five key areas: cities, energy, food, population, and planet. For instance, cutting CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning by 50% would #MoveTheDate by 93 days.