Humanity has already consumed Earth's 2017 resource 'budget'

Andrew Cummings
August 2, 2017

The two groups said in a statement: "By August 2, 2017, we will have used more from Nature than our planet can renew in the whole year".

The costs of this so-called "ecological overspending" include deforestation, drought, soil erosion, biodiversity loss and too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

This year's Earth Overshoot Day is the earliest yet, coming one day ahead of the 2016 date.

Last year, Earth Overshoot Day fell on August 8, an indication that the world's population is accelerating the pace with which it blows through the planet's annual resource budget from year to year.

The equivalent of 1.7 planets would be required to produce enough to meet humanity's needs at current consumption rates.

When this is broken down into the ecological footprints of each country in the world, the figures do not reflect kindly on the United Kingdom, with humanity needing 3.0 Earths if everyone lived like us.

The date of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by comparing the amount of ecological resources the Earth can generate that year, by humanity's demand for that year.

"Our planet is finite, but human possibilities are not", Mathis Wackernagel, CEO of the Global Footprint Network, said in a statement ahead of today's inauspicious landmark.

"We hope our new Footprint Calculator enables millions more people around the world to explore sustainability solutions and gain an uplifting sense of the possibilities available to society".

Humans have already used up the allowance of Earth's natural resources for the entire year. By reducing the carbon aspect of Earth's ecological footprint by 50 per cent, Overshoot Day could be pushed back by 89 days, while cutting food waste in half could move the date back 11 days and eating less protein-intensive food could move it back 31 days.

Pledges include trying a new vegetarian recipe, donate money or switch to cycling.

"Humanity's carbon footprint alone more than doubled since the early 1970s". "However, the deal suffered a huge blow in June when Trump announced his plans to withdraw from the agreement".

According to environmental groups and climate scientists, Earth Overshoot Day is just one of many urgent indicators that only rapid and systemic restructuring of our energy systems can reverse the trends that continue to deplete and degrade the planet.

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