Earth Overshoot Day Arrives Earlier Than Ever
Earth Overshoot Day is the day during the year that marks when we have exceeded our demand for natural resources faster than the planet can renew them. This year, we hit this mark on August 1, the earliest it has ever been. Renewable resources are being consumed 1.7 times faster than our planet can regenerate them, according to the Global Footprint Network. Due to this increase in renewable resource consumption, it is leading to a severe loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, and deforestation, in addition to unpredictable weather patterns.
The way Earth Overshoot Day is calculated is the amount of food and natural resources must be totaled up, in addition to how much carbon the Earth can sequester. These calculations done by the Global Footprint Network lead us to the conclusion that in order to keep up with our current consumption, we would need the total resources of 1.7 Earths.
Since the 1970’s, we have exceeded the planet’s ability for renewing its natural resources, with population growth being one of the major underlying causes. Food waste also plays a big role in our large ecological imprint. Every year, over 1.3 billion tons or 33 % of the total food supply is wasted. The United States is much worse, with over half of the total food produced going to waste every year.
In response to this, carbon levels have dramatically increased, mostly due to the rise in burning fossil fuels and extensive deforestation. Additionally, water is another important natural resource being rapidly depleted. The United Nations predicts that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will live in countries with complete water scarcity. By 2030, up to 700 million people are expected to be displaced by water scarcity in hot and arid regions of the world.
The impact of this depletion of natural resources is already highly apparent. We are seeing it clearly in our very own state, which has been wracked with droughts leading to severe wildfires. We have also seen tremendously destructive hurricanes and tropical storms on the east coast, which are said to be caused by climate change, according to a study released in Nature.