This year, the Global Footprint Network, a group concerned about sustainability and the way we use our limited natural resources, marked August 13 as “Earth Overshoot Day,” a point each year that signals when humanity has consumed all the resources our planet could produce within 12 months.
So, this year we consumed it all four months earlier. Experts argue that if we continue at this pace we would need another half of Earth to sustain us. And as developing countries continue to emerge we could need two Earths for that relatively soon.
In the 1960s, humanity spent only three quarters of the planet’s annual resources. But by 1970, we used it all in just one year. From that date on, we continually exceeded our annual share of resources with two exceptions October, 2000, and August 19, 2014.
Global Footprint Network’s head Mathis Wackernagel explained how the group calculates the ecological overshoot day. He said that researchers divide the total of resources our planet can generate over the course of one year by our needs and multiply it by 365, or 366 in leap years.
Mr. Wackernagel noted that we entered ecological overshot in the 70s when greenhouse gas emissions were twofold. These emissions are the factor which contributes the most to the ever widening gap between our needs and how much our planet can take, he added.
The group even released an infographic with the world’s greatest spenders. On top of the list features Japan which would need four more Japans to cover its yearly expenses. Second on the list is Italy which would need 2.8 more countries of its size to sustain its economy. China needs 2.7 Chinas, while the U.S. needs 1.9 U.S.A.s. The U.K. needs three UKs, while Switzerland needs 3.5 Switzerlands to reach an annual balance between what it spends and what its territory can provide.
Currently we need 1.6 Earths to sustain our lack of consideration over the planet’s natural resources. But by 2030, if the carbon footprint is not reduced we would need two Earths, the Global Footprint Network reported.
The group also noted that we overspent a lot over the course of the last three years mainly because of deforestation, global warming which affected groundwater resources, and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, countries recklessly built roads and structures on forests and grazing land, leaving us with less vegetation to absorb the carbon we produce. That’s why more and more carbon ends up in the atmosphere instead of being absorbed.
Image Source: Italia 24 News
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