It's Earth Overshoot Day, We are Now Living off our Reserves


Yesterday was Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity uses up the natural biocapacity of the planet for the year and from that point on lives solely off of the stored reserves.

Each year the independent organization Global Footprint Network calculates the exact moment when humanity uses up the renewable resources of the planet and how long it would take the Earth to neutralize the pollution produced by humans, including the greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

This year we crossed the threshold on August 13, which is 3 days earlier in comparison to last year and an entire 6 days in comparison to 2013.

The extent to which humanity overconsumes and even abuses the planet can be judged by the fact that in 1975 the turning point when depleting available resources and reaching for reserves was at the end of November.

Gradually, with the industrialization of more and more nations, this overshoot day has been coming ever earlier in the year, with it being at the beginning of September in 2005 according to experts' calculations.


Scientists warn that even though their calculations are approximate, as a whole we are seeing the troublesome pattern for this day of resource depletion to keep coming earlier in the year.

The numbers also show that exceeding this potential is quite significant. According to the founder of the organization, Mathis Wackernagel, who also created the mathematical model used to make the calculations, humanity continues to increase the consumption of natural resources, even though it has been living in debt for decades.

Visually speaking, on Earth overshoot day humans stop paying their ecological debt that has accumulated so far and leave it to grow.

As such, we don't pay the price for deforestation, for using up drinking water resources, for decreasing biodiversity, for accumulating more garbage and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

One of the critical factors due to which overshoot day has in recent years been coming ever sooner is the population growth and life expectancy increase.

This index is especially high in BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.


At the moment, our planet is not enough to satisfy humanity's need for resources. Calculations by Global Footprint Network show that we need on average 1.6 planet Earths, with this indicator being even higher in certain developed countries.

For example, the Chinese need 2.7 Chinas to satisfy the needs of their population, the French need 1.4 Frances, the Americans - 1.9 United States, the Greeks 2.6 Greeces, and the British an entire 3 Great Britains.

The Indians have need of 2 Indias, the Swiss 3.5 Switzerlands, and the Italians - 3.8 Italies. The greatest number of resources being used on "credit" are by the Japanese, who need a whopping 5 Japans to meet their needs.

In case this troublesome tendency of overconsumption and abuse of natural resources continues, in 2030 humans will need at least one more planet the size of the Earth to meet their resource requirements.

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