It’s Earth Overshoot Day and that means that all the resources that the Earth can sustainably produce in one year have been used up. The grim milestone will be reached on July 28 this year, report research organization Global Footprint Network and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). That is one day earlier than in 2021.
As of today, humanity is consuming the earth’s stock of food and natural resources. Researchers calculated that we will use 1.75 earth this year. Earth Overshoot Day was conceived to show how fast the ecological footprint of the world’s population is growing.
“The Earth has a lot of reserves, so we can deplete the planet for a while, but not forever,” explains Mathis Wackernagel of the Global Footprint Network. It’s like spending money, he says: “We can spend more than we earn for a while, but at some point we’re broke.”
Load not evenly distributed
If everyone in the world had lived like a Dutchman, it would already have been Earth Overshoot Day on April 12 this year. Americans have an even bigger carbon footprint. If everyone consumed like an American, then by March 13, natural resources would have been used up for the rest of the year.
For those who want to reduce the exhaustion of the planet, the Global Footprint Network and the WWF have two suggestions: eat less meat and limit the amount of food that is thrown away. If rich countries eat half as much meat, Earth Overshoot Day will be moved seventeen days to mid-August. Reducing food waste could add another 13 days, as one third of all the world’s food is currently thrown away.
In 2019 and 2021, the grim date of July 29 was reached. In corona year 2020, it was Earth Overshoot Day on August 22, due to the corona restrictions that applied worldwide. In 1970, the raw materials that the earth can sustainably produce annually were not used up until December 23.