The World Has Already Used A Year's Worth of Resources — And It's Only August

The World Has Already Used A Year's Worth of Resources — And It's Only August
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Earth Overshoot Day is the day when the global community has used as many natural resources as the planet can produce in a year. This year, Earth Overshoot day is today, August 8 — meaning we've used a year's worth of resources in eight months.

According to a video explanation from the YouTube channel Sustainability Illustrated, when we demand from the planet more than the planet can naturally produce itself, we've essentially hit our budget — everything thereafter is the equivalent of racking up credit card debt, with somewhat more dire consequences. 

According to the Global Footprint Network, we currently use about 1.6 Earths-worth of natural resources a year, meaning we dip into savings annually.

Only, instead of it working like a regular bank, debt and dipping into savings has ecological impact: We overfish. We cut down forests. We expend fossil fuels and increase greenhouse gas emissions. And because of that, we're putting our planet in major danger.

But this didn't just start happening. In 1987, we used up that natural budget in mid-December. Last year, we used them up by August 13. And this year, we scoot up the yard-marker another five days.

"We continue to grow our ecological debt," said Pascal Canfin, head of the French section of the World Wide Fund for Nature told Agence France-Presse. "From Monday August 8, we will be living on credit because in eight months we would have consumed the natural capital that our planet can renew in a year."

The report's accompanying chart explains how many planet Earths we'd need if we all lived like certain countries. For instance, if the global population lived like Australia, we'd go through the annual resources of 5.4 Earths. If everyone lived like the U.S., it's 4.8. And if everyone lived like India, we'd need 0.7.

How many Earths we'd need
Source: 
Global Footprint Network

Even though we have global political actions, like the Paris Climate Change Agreement, to hamper the use of so many fossil fuels, news like this is alarming — and if it stays on track, it stands to worsen every year.

Read more:
• Despite the Paris Climate Change Agreement, We're Probably Screwed
• We're Going to Have to Work Twice as Hard to Contain Global Warming — But It's Worth It
• Trump Made This Guy His New Energy Adviser — Kiss the Planet Goodbye

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Max Plenke

Max Plenke is a staff writer at Mic, where he covers breaking news, climate science, health and the future. His work has appeared in Esquire, GQ and Wallpaper. Send story tips to max@mic.com.

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