Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

World Marks Earliest 'Earth Overshoot Day'

Popular
World Marks Earliest 'Earth Overshoot Day'

Starting Monday, humanity will consume more resources through the end of 2019 than the planet can sustainably regenerate for the year, according to the Global Footprint Network (GFN), which has been calculating Earth Overshoot Day since 1986.


"Earth Overshoot Day falling on July 29 means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet's ecosystems can regenerate," according to GFN. "This is akin to using 1.75 Earths."

The GFN totals usage of food, timber, fibers, carbon sequestration and more. Currently, carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel constitute 60% of humanity's ecological footprint.

Organizations such as the European Commission's Directorate General for Environment took to social media to demonstrate their interest in preserving resources.

By the GFN's calculations, some countries reach their own overshoot days much more quickly than others. Qatar and Luxembourg overshoot the mark less than 50 days into the year, while the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the U.S., Canada, Denmark and Australia burn through their allotted resources before the end of March. Israel and Germany hit their overshoot point on May 3, and only Cuba, Nicaragua, Iraq, Ecuador and Indonesia don't reach the mark until December.

'Global Ecological Overspending'

Annual ecological deficits began in the 1970s, according to the GFN, compromising the planet's future regenerative capacity. In 1993, Earth Overshoot fell on October 21, in 2003 it happened on September 22, and it even fell several days later in 2017: on August 2.

"The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss or the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," according to the GFN. "The latter leads to climate change and more frequent extreme weather events."

If Earth Overshoot Day were moved back five days annually, global consumption could square with the resources available to a single planet by 2050, GFN reports. For instance, replacing 50% of meat consumption with vegetarian food would move the date of Overshoot Day 15 days (10 days for the reduction of methane emissions from livestock alone); reducing the carbon component of the global Ecological Footprint by 50% would move the date 93 days.

"We have only got one Earth β€” this is the ultimately defining context for human existence," GFN founder Mathis Wackernagel said. "We can't use 1.75 without destructive consequences."

To help humanity decrease consumption to sustainable levels, GFN offers its ecological footprint calculator in Hindi, English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian.

"Ultimately, human activity will be brought in balance with Earth's ecological resources," Wackernagel said. "The question is whether we choose to get there by disaster or by design β€” one-planet misery or one-planet prosperity."

Reposted with permission from our media associate DW.

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less
What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out? Ronny Hartmann / AFP / Getty Images

By Zheng Chen and Darren H. S. Tan

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch