We still have months left until the end of 2019, but humans have already used up all the natural resources the planet can sustainably supply for the entire year.
Earth Overshoot Day (EOD) is getting earlier every year, marked on August 2 in 2017 and August 1 in 2018. This year marks the most alarming EOD since the day was first observed in 1986.
Mankind having drained more ecological resources than the Earth can regenerate in 2019 on July 29. This is a horrifying two months earlier than the EOD recorded just 20 years ago.
EOD is calculated by the Global Footprint Network, a sustainability organisation which have calculated humans are now using 1.75 times ecological resources than the planet can feasibly handle. This is due to issues such as overpopulation and increased consumption.
The results of this crisis are evident when looking at issues such deforestation, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss. It can also be seen in the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn leads to climate change and increased frequency of extreme weather events.
In a statement made in a press release, founder of Global Footprint Network, Mathis Wackernagel, said:
We have only got one Earth – this is the ultimately defining context for human existence. We can’t use 1.75 without destructive consequences.
If EOD could be moved back by just five days each year, human beings could live sustainably on a single planet by the year 2050.
The Global Footprint Network believe there are five key areas we now need to address: ‘cities, energy, food, population, and planet’. Reducing carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels by 50 per cent would roll EOD back by a full 93 days.
Chilean Minister of Environment, María Carolina Schmidt Zaldívar, said:
With Earth Overshoot Day occurring ever earlier in the year, and a big part of it being the growing amounts of CO2 emissions, the importance of decisive action is becoming ever more evident. For this reason, we are working with all parties to find effective approaches.
Former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, Solar Impulse Foundation founder Bertrand Piccard, and Club of Rome co-president Sandrine Dixson-Declѐve, are among the climate conscious individuals who have tweeted video statements calling to #MoveTheDate.
This terrifying Earth Overshoot Day is a dire warning to us all about the grave consequences of our current consumption habits.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.