Earth Overshoot Day: Humans use up allowance of Earth's natural resources for entire year

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Humans have already used up the allowance of Earth’s natural resources for the entire year. 

In just seven months, humanity has exhausted the amount of water, soil, clean air and other resources that the planet can generate in 2017, meaning from now until December all the energy we use is unsustainable in the long-term.

The day marks the point when the amount of energy and resources humanity is using exceeds the amount Earth can replace in that year.

The extra waste we now produce cannot be absorbed and will cause harm, and we are using too many other natural resources – like eating fish, plant-based food and meat – too quickly.

This year’s Earth Overshoot Day is earlier than ever. Before the 1970s, the Earth was able to renew all of its resources spent by humans every year.

Overfishing, overharvesting forests and pumping out more carbon dioxide than plants can take are all reasons which contribute to humanity’s massive and growing ecological footprint.

Earth Overshoot Day: How many planets would we need? (Global Footprint Network National Footprint Accounts 2017.)

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

“Our planet is finite, but human possibilities are not,” said Mathis Wackernagel, CEO of Global Footprint Network which runs Earth Overshoot Day. 

“Living within the means of one planet is technologically possible, financially beneficial, and our only chance for a prosperous future. 

“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 currently consume 1.7 Earths every year.

Different countries also have different Earth Overshoot Days, depending on how ecologically-friendly they are. In the UK, the day is even earlier, on May 4.

Honduras, South Sudan, Georgia, Moldova and Cuba are all among the most sustainable countries in the world.

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.

Global Footprint Network came up with suggestions of small changes people can make to cut their environmental footprint.

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

Calculate your own ecological footprint here.


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