Earth Overcapacity Day: We Have Eaten The World In 212 Days

Photo: nmedia / Shutterstock

One day earlier than in 2017, on August 1, 2018 we will  have already exhausted all the resources that nature can regenerate this year. To maintain our current appetite for resources, we would need the equivalent of 1.7 Earths.

On August 1, humanity will have already consumed all the resources produced by the planet in one year. This is what experts call Earth’s Overcapacity Day, the exact point at which the use of resources like water, food, land, and wood exceeds nature’s regenerative capacity.

This factor has been recorded since the 70s (then it was called Ecological Debt Day) and throughout all this time it has shown an almost constant trend: apart from a slight decrease in the years of the financial and economic crisis, our “Appetite” for natural resources increases from year to year. In 1987 the day fell on December 19, in 2000 it reached November 1, and last year it was August 2.

In this downward spiral, the day of Earth’s overcapacity continues to accelerate and at this rate it is likely that next year the date will fall in July.

Our current economies operate a Ponzi scheme with our planet, ” said Mathis Wackernagel, managing director and co-founder of the Global Footprint Network (non-profit computing organization). “ We are borrowing the future resources of the Earth to advance our economies today. Like any Ponzi scheme, it works for a while. But as nations, businesses, or households go deeper into debt, they fall apart . ”

Deforestation
Deforestation. Photo: Volodymyr_Dyrbavka / Shutterstock

The day of the Earth’s overcapacity is calculated by dividing the global biocapacity (the amount of natural resources generated by the Earth that year) by the global ecological footprint (the consumption of it by humanity), multiplying the result by 365, that is say, the days of the year. What the calculation does not say explicitly, but emerges from quick reflection, is that, at this rate, we would need the equivalent of 1.7 Earth. Not only that. The cost of such rampant ecological outlay becomes increasingly apparent over time. The climate change is the most visible and widespread, together result in the loss of biodiversity, collapsing fisheries, rising prices of raw materials and lost all civil rights associated with it.

Various scientific studies have revealed that one third of the land is now deeply degraded, while tropical forests have become a source rather than a sink of carbon. Scientists have also expressed concern about increasingly erratic climate trends, particularly in the Arctic, and the worryingly declining populations of bees and other pollinating insects.

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