Pushing back Overshoot Day through sustainable action
The bring-and-take days held on 26 and 27 May 2023 at Zurich main station were aimed at raising awareness among visitors and passers-by on how we can push back Earth Overshoot Day through sustainable action. The focus of the event was on the key issues of swapping, renting, reusing and repairing.
Ecological footprints vary from country to country. Overshoot Day is a specific date in the year when the resources available for that year have already been used up. In 2023, this date was 13 May in Switzerland, 4 April in Austria, 12 April in the Netherlands, 4 May in Germany and 5 May in France.
When it comes to Switzerland, this means that the country consumes four times as much natural resources as the country’s ecosystem can renew. If Switzerland were to pursue its original Paris Agreement goal of halving its emissions from 1990 to 2030, Swiss Overshoot Day could be pushed back 72 days to 24 July.
The bring-and-take days allowed visitors to bring and collect furniture and household items free of charge, and resulted in a lively stream of swapping. A series of talks was also held during the two-day event.
Humanity as a whole consumes excessive amounts of resources – for example in animal husbandry, food production, product manufacture, consumption, transport and tourism, road and urban planning and housing. According to the Global Footprint Network, a critical limit was already exceeded by the mid-1970s. Human demand for renewable ecological resources and services has already reached the capacity of one-and-a-half Earths. If developments continue at the same rate, the resources of two planets will be needed annually by 2050. The relevant indicators of this phenomenon include greenhouse effects being produced faster than they are absorbed and broken down by forests and oceans, deforestation, decline in biodiversity and overfishing.
The aim was to raise awareness of the various possibilities among visitors and passers-by, and help push back Swiss Overshoot Day through consistent action. The event focussed on offering suggestions as to how we can achieve a more sustainable lifestyle in our homes – furniture and other household items that were no longer needed could be brought in and others taken away free of charge, for example. Both days also included a diverse programme of live talks, music, workshops and theatre.
Because Girsberger, as a sustainably oriented company, also offers the possibility of preserving and refurbishing furniture that is old and worn, helping to extend their useful life. Wooden frames can be sanded and revarnished, and the upholstery and the fabric covering seating furniture can be replaced. This also allows us to optimise the properties of the product according to our customers’ wishes, while at the same time reducing resource consumption. We see this as an important contribution to sustainable living and the circular economy, and were keen to let people know about these possibilities.
Girsberger contributed old chairs to the large and striking sculpture at the station.
Statement by Davide Mastrodomenico, Head of Remanufacturing, Girsberger AG