It’s August 1st, which does not mean much to most, but today is Earth Overshoot Day. On this day, we (as in all of humanity) have consumed more resources than what the Earth can regenerate in one year. In other words, our species has exhausted the resources that Earth can generate for 2018, with 5 months still left in the year.
Earth Overshoot Day has been inching up for decades, as a result of population growth and growing demand, which has caused increased carbon emissions, over-fishing, deforestation, drought and species extinction around the planet. As of today, nature’s resources are being used up 1.7 faster than what can be reproduced. For comparison, since 1998, Earth Overshoot Day has moved up two months from October 1st. And each year, it is moving earlier as our ecological footprint becomes greater.
Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by the Global Footprint Network, which monitors humanity’s use of the available natural resources and the resulting environmental damage. Overshoot Day is determined by the number of day the Earth’s bio-capacity can satisfy humanity’s ecological footprint. What remains for the year is referred to as the overshoot.
The Global Footprint Network estimates that about 86% of countries are living beyond their ecological means. Overshoot Day varies by country — as an example Overshoot Day for the U.S. is March 15th. Think about it this way — if everyone in the world lived like Americans, we would need 5 Earths to sustain humanity. Too bad we only have the one.
Today is day to reflect on how we can use the Earth’s resources more wisely and sustainably. Reducing our use of the limited natural resources doesn’t mean we compromise our standard of living — we can all live in the means of the planet and help #MoveTheDate.