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 includes 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.
“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.
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:
Here’s a closer look:
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 give days per year, we could be living back without our planet’s resource boundaries by 2050.