Each year an estimation is given of the day on which humanity reaches the limit of sustainable use of available natural resources for that year, i.e. the natural budget, commonly referred to as the Overshoot Day. This year the limit was reached on July 29, three days earlier than in 2018, when the date was August 1, and the trend has been to trigger the environmental credit card ever earlier, despite all political and public discourse on circular economy and carbon neutrality.
Portugal is an active contributor to this situation, since if all countries had the same ecological footprint as ours, 2.5 planets would be needed. This year Portugal reached its overshoot day on May 26th.
It is urgent to change this unsustainable trend!
Now we know that young people are agents of change and, if mobilized, will unleash activism skills for the creation of a better world perhaps never before imagined. It is therefore in your hands to make this change!
Concerns about the environment and the impacts of climate change tend to be a challenge for the future of work. Production and consumption practices within the current linear economic model are leading to overexploitation of natural resources, loss of biodiversity and climate change.
Globalization has a role to play in the environment and generates more and more problems. Global value chains have a significant environmental impact. These require a large amount of environmental consumption, such as resources and the production of large amounts of waste, which are scattered throughout the chain. Technology could play a positive role in reducing the business ecological footprint. It is already replacing the need for some travel, for example, as a result of advances in communications. It could also be used to produce in a more environmentally efficient manner. However, some challenges arise here. The digital revolution, for example, seems to have negative effects on the environment as a result of major “power struggles,” particularly for the purposes of so-called big data. Approximately 1.2 billion jobs depend specifically on a stable and healthy environment. This includes work in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry, but also tourism, pharmaceuticals and other industries that depend on natural environmental processes.
As countries try to achieve agreed climate targets internationally and reduce the impacts of climate change on their economies, they are likely to be actively involved in a transition to a greener economy.
More than half of the global workforce will be affected by this transition which, on the one hand, will result in the destruction of jobs in fields considered to be barriers to combating climate change, and on the other hand many new jobs will emerge from the so-called green and circular economy faster than expected. Many job opportunities are already emerging for young people in these areas, as well as in areas related to energy efficiency or recycling. As an example, some sources from the European Commission cite jobseekings referring to data from 2018 saying that in the EU over 50% of job vacancies in the energy sector were related to renewable energy.
These opportunities connect positively with young people’s views on the need to combat climate change. A Eurobarometer report on youth found that young people rated environmental protection and the fight against climate change as the second highest priority for the EU after education and skills. More job opportunities in the so-called green economy would enable young people to have jobs while contributing to society in ways that are easily perceived as valuable.