Earth Overshoot Day 2017 is August 2. Today is the day humans have consumed more ecological resources than planet Earth can replenish in 2017.
Environmental groups WWF and Global Footprint Network report Earth Overshoot Day 2017 came earlier this year than in 2016. Last year, the date was August 8.
Earth Overshoot Day was first recognized in 1971, with the initial date being December 21. By 1990, Earth Overshoot Day fell on October 13, and then to September 23 by the year 2000.
According to a Telegraph report, humans currently use 170 percent of nature’s output of resources. By comparison, the human race only used 78 percent in 1963.
In other words, it takes 1.7 planets to sustain the world’s current intake of natural resources. By the middle of the next century, predictions suggest it will take two Earth’s to keep up with demand.
“By August 2, 2017, we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the whole year,” the groups said in a statement, as cited by the Independent. “This means that in seven months, we emitted more carbon than the oceans and forests can absorb in a year, we caught more fish, felled more trees, harvested more, and consumed more water than the Earth was able to produce in the same period.”
The Earth Overshoot Day project also breaks down how individual countries are overusing ecological resources, with the world’s most industrialized nations consuming the most. The No. 1 spot is taken by Australia, while the United States follows close behind.
Making up 60 percent of humanity’s ecological footprint, carbon emissions from fossil fuels remain the biggest thief of Earth’s resources. Deforestation, which makes it difficult for the planet to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, concentrated farming, and over-fishing also weigh heavy on the environment.
In an effort to push the Earth Overshoot date later in the year, environmentalists are asking individuals to eat less meat, reduce fuel consumption, and stop wasting food. The Global Footprint Network estimates food is 26 percent of the human global footprint. This could be reduced to 16 percent simply by cutting food waste in half and eating more fruits and vegetables, according to the group.
Both the WWF and Global Footprint Network want to increase awareness of Earth Overshoot Day 2017. If their campaign is successful and people worldwide heed their warning and advice, the date could be pushed back nearly five days every year moving forward. Subsequently, humans would only need the resources of one planet by the year 2050.
[Featured Image by David McNew/Getty Images]