Published On: Tue, Aug 20th, 2013

Earth Overshoot Day Highlights Deficit in Natural Resources

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'Big Foot' Ecological footprint cartoon. Credit: Seppo.net

‘Big Foot’ Ecological footprint cartoon. Credit: Seppo.net

According to the international think tank ‘Global Footprint Network’ today (Tuesday 20th August) marks “Earth Overshoot Day” – the point in the year at which we have already used one year’s worth of the planet’s natural resources.

“In just over eight months, we have used as much nature as our planet can regenerate this year,” says a press release from the Global Footprint Network. “The rest of the year corresponds to overshoot. We will maintain our ecological deficit by depleting oceans of fish, trees and other resources, and accumulating waste such as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

The group says that the planet first went into ecological deficit on December 29 1970, and since then our overuse of natural resources has been growing steadily. If everyone in the world were to consume resources at the same rate as the average American then it would take four planets to support us. Qatar is even worse – it would take six and a half earths to support us all at their level of consumption.

China has the biggest ecological footprint. Although this is largely down to the sheer size of the country’s population, it would still take 1.2 earths to support the global population at the same average resource usage as China.

Globally, it would take one and a half earths to satisfy our present rate of consumption over the long term, and according to the Global Footprint Network ”We are on track to require the resources of two Earths well before mid-century.”

Last year ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ was August 22nd. This year we reached the ignominious market 2 days earlier.

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About the Author

- Dean Walsh is the owner and editor of World News Curator. He also owns and runs Ourly News and a range of other online publications.

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