Humanity Used Up All of Earth’s Resources for Current Year
Global Footprint Network organization researches the impact of humanity on the environment in a very visual way. Every year the algorithms count the depletion of Earth’s resources and point the day when people use more food, water, and other resources than the planet can renew in a year.
July 29th marks Earth Overshoot Day this year, as previous one. So we have begun to use the resources of the next year.
People kept Earth Overshoot Day in 1970 for the first time, it came on December 29th. Twenty years ago, in 1999 – on September 29th. This has already caused concern: ideally, for long-term stability, it should be enough resources for a year.
A few years ago, we blew this ecological budget by August 8. Since then Earth Overshoot Day was budged for a week.
At this rate, by 2100, we would spend our annual resources in just a few weeks.
The ecological budget includes the amount of water, land, animals, fish and forest resources that we use, in addition to the level of CO₂, which we pump in the atmosphere.
Until the 70s, humanity has used such amount of resources, which Earth could renew in a year. For example, in 1961 we used only 75% of them.
So, at our current rate of resources, we need 1.75 planets to support our demands.
Not all countries use resources equally. Qatar is the most resources-consuming country. In comparison, the US uses fewer resources, than Qatar, but more than Germany. But in Indonesia, spending of resources is the most economical.
The founder of GFN Mathis Wackernagel emphasizes that right now we could tackle this problem, as new necessary technologies are appearing.
The main measure is the reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels. It is estimated that retrenchment of carbon emissions would halve this date by three months closer to winter.
If 100% of buildings and industrial infrastructure had used modern solutions, primarily relying on renewable energy sources and reducing energy consumption, Earth Overshoot Day would have come at least 21 days later.
But everyone can make a contribution by changing some habits.
Personal autos cause 17% of carbon emissions. If each of us preferred to use a bicycle or at least a bus in 50% of trips, Earth would receive an additional 11.5 days. If we reduced meat consumption by half, there would be 15 extra days.
Another way is to reduce the world population.
It means to create equal opportunities and rights for men and women and improve levels of education. According to statistics, in communities where women have equal access to education and career opportunities, the birth rate is lower.
And what do you think about all this? Should people pay more attention to the planet’s future?