Experts at the Global Footprint Network are monitoring the world’s ecological footprint each year and pinpointing the day that we have officially demanded more from nature than what the Earth can regenerate. This day, which is referred to as Earth Overshoot Day, is coming earlier and earlier every decade.
For 2018, Earth Overshoot Day falls on August 1st, which means it takes just 212 days for humans to use up our yearly supply of global resources. Scientists at the Global Footprint Network have created a chart that measures this day since the 1970s, when the globe did not use an excess of the year’s resources until November or December.
According to the experts, humanity is now using the equivalent of 1. 7 planets. This is due primarily to the overharvesting of forests, overfishing, and carbon emissions that are too high to be captured and stored naturally by Earth’s ecosystems.
Mathis Wackernagel is the chief executive and co-founder of the Global Footprint Network.
“Our current economies are running a Ponzi scheme with our planet,” Wackernagel told The Guardian. “We are borrowing the Earth’s future resources to operate our economies in the present.”
“Like any Ponzi scheme, this works for some time. But as nations, companies, or households dig themselves deeper and deeper into debt, they eventually fall apart.”
As desperate as the situation is becoming, the scientists at the Global Footprint Network says that is not too late to lower the world’s ecological footprint, and that reducing carbon emissions would make the biggest difference.
*Reducing the carbon component of humanity’s Ecological Footprint by 50% would get us from consuming the resources of 1.7 Earths down to 1.2 Earths,” the experts explain. “This corresponds to moving the date of Overshoot Day by 93 days, or about three months.”
The international research organization also emphasizes the role that individuals could make in moving the Overshoot date by taking small steps in our daily lives to reduce the impact we have on our planet.
According to the Global Footprint Network: “If everyone committed to #MoveTheDate 5 days each year, we could get out of global overshoot by 2050.”
Learn more about Earth Overshoot Day and how you can take your first step to help #MoveTheDate at https://www.overshootday.org.
By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer