July 29 marks the point at which we start to consume more than the Earth can replenish. And this date is getting earlier each year
By Laura Paddison | The Huffington Post
On July 29, we cross an alarming threshold. This date marks Earth Overshoot Day, the point each year at which humanity starts to consume the world’s natural resources faster than they can be replenished.
It’s taken us only 209 days to burn through a year’s worth of resources — everything from food and timber to land and carbon. We are using up nature 1.75 times faster than it can be replenished. To do this sustainably, we would need the resources of 1.75 Earths.
These latest figures come from Global Footprint Network, an international nonprofit that calculates our annual ecological budget and the date at which we exceed it. Once we bust through this budget, we start devouring resources at an unsustainable rate.
“It’s a pyramid scheme,” said Mathis Wackernagel, CEO and founder of Global Footprint Network. “It depends on using more and more from the future to pay for the present.”
It’s like being in financial debt, only much harder to recover. “There’s nothing to kickstart the economy if we overuse our resources,” he said, “because every economic activity depends on natural capital, and without that, it’s not going to work.”