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We Just Used Up All of Earth's Resources For The Year, And It's Only July

TESSA KOUMOUNDOUROS
29 JUL 2019

If this headline looks familiar to you, that's because we wrote an almost identical one in 2016. Except back then, we were freaking out because we'd used a year's worth of Earth's resources by August 8. Now, three years later, we've accomplished this worrying milestone more than a week earlier.

 

This year, July 29th marks Earth Overshoot Day - the date on which we've burnt through the amount of resources our planet can renew in a year.

Every year we blow this ecological budget earlier and earlier and at our current rate of resource use we'd need 1.75 planets to support our demand on Earth's ecosystem.

The calculations include resources such as the amount of water, land, fish and forests we use as well as how much CO2 we're pumping into the atmosphere - basically a measure of our ecological footprint.

Our carbon footprint specifically is now 60 percent of our total global ecological footprint - with a massive 33 days of our budget overshoot used up due to CO2 emissions alone.

Before the 1970s, our resource use remained within the boundaries of what our planet could produce - in 1961, we only used three-quarters of our annual resources. But since then, our resource use has spiralled out of control.

(Global Footprint Network)(Global Footprint Network)

"We have only got one Earth – this is the ultimately defining context for human existence. We can't use 1.75 without destructive consequences," said Mathis Wackernagel, founder of Global Footprint Network in a press release.

And lately these consequences are becoming frighteningly clear, with the 6th mass extinction now well underway and the effects of climate change ramping up

 

In just the last week we've reported on terrifying heatwavesmassive habitat destruction, and the loss of an entire glacier

Of course, not all countries are equal when it comes to resource use. You can check out how soon we'd use all our resources if everyone lived like you do, below: 

(Global Footprint Network)(Global Footprint Network)

Here's a closer look:
(Global Footprint Network)

While we are making some small steps towards reducing our impacts, with the UK recently managing 6 days without burning CO2, there's still a very long way to go.

If we can start moving Earth Overshoot day back five days per year, we could be living back within our planet's resource boundaries by 2050.

Strategies to #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day are discussed here.