Earth Overshoot Day: Humans use up annual resources earlier than ever before

Humans have used up all the resources the planet can regenerate in a year - earlier than we ever have before.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the point at which humanity's consumption of natural resources in a given year exceeds what nature can sustainably supply in that year.

Complex calculations by international research organisation Global Footprint Network (GFN) found that Earth Overshoot Day 2019 has come on July 29, earlier than ever before. Last year it came on August 1, and August 2 in 2017.

GFN tracks resource use and capacity all the way back to 1961, when we used only three quarters of the Earth's annual resources. In 1970, Earth Overshoot Day came on December 29.

Fifty years on, it has arrived some five months earlier.

GFN says increased consumption and a growing global population mean we're using up Earth's resources 1.75 times faster than the planet can regenerate them. 

Those resources include the amount of water, land, fish and forests used by humans, as well as how many carbon emissions we produce. 

"We have only got one Earth – this is the ultimately defining context for human existence," GFN founder Mathis Wackernagel said in a press release.

A social media campaign demanding to #MoveTheDate is intended to raise awareness of the threat such resource overconsumption poses to life on Earth. GFN says if we can move Earth Overshoot Day back by five days every year, humanity could live sustainably on Earth by 2050.

Halving carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels would move the date by 93 days.

"Earth's resources are finite, and we are in a climate emergency," Aaron Kiely from Friends of the Earth said. 

"Today is a warning about how wrong we are currently getting things because this isn't an overdraft we can dip into and pay back."


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