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We Seem To Have Overshot the Earth’s Resources on July 29

We Seem To Have Overshot the Earth’s Resources on July 29
Find out what would happen if everyone spent resources like you, Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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2019 has seen the earliest date on which we exceeded the Earth’s regenerative limits for resources. But how would the globe fare, if everyone lived like you?

OT Staff
August 05 , 2019
03 Min Read

With humanity at a dangerous ecological precipice, several organisations are working towards educating the masses about climate change. One of these bodies is the Global Footprint Network (GFN), a non-profit research organisation. In a long-running campaign supported by several nonprofits, GFN has calculated an ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ since 1969. But it’s only recently made international headlines. Why? Because this year, we’ve apparently used up all of our planet’s resources by July 29. 

In a simple economic nutshell, this is a cautionary day that shows how humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year can surpass the Earth’s regenerative limits. Given industry, modernisation and lax environmental regulations, it’s no surprise that we’ve been overshooting the boundary for decades.

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 According to this chart, we’ve been overshooting the Earth’s ecological capacity since 1973, and have required 1.7 Earths since the 2010s to sustainably meet humanity’s demands

“Over the past 20 years, it (Earth Overshoot Day) has moved up two months to July 29, the earliest ever. This means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate, equivalent to 1.75 Earths,” said the organisation in a statement.

While the study is unable to cover every aspect of living conditions (courtesy global lifestyle variations, and the lack of vast public data archives), the fact that even a baseline assessment resulted in a July 29 cutoff is alarming. India, being an agrarian economy with lower per-capita emissions, hasn’t fared as badly as some developed countries, but there’s always room for improvement.

This does beg the question—-when would Earth Overshoot Day be, if everyone lived like you? After a look at GFN’s dating formula, we tried their official footprint calculator to see how we’d hold up. 

Hosted on a sleek, colourful website, the quiz bears questions about food habits, transit and housing to determine your personal Overshoot Day, plus how many Earths we’d need if everyone shared your lifestyle.

The result page of one of our team members. Most city-dwellers, unless they lead a environmentally-conscious lifestyle, are unlikely to be in an admirable zone near the end of the year. Unfortunately, we seemed to have overshot 2019’s cutoff date.

As a landmark UN report found this year, humanity has only 11 years to prevent irreversible damage to the Earth before climate change takes its course. While efforts like waste-to-energy generation and airlines adopting green measures help, citizen efforts do make their mark. 

To understand the impact of your lifestyle habits and find your own ecological footprint, take the quiz at footprintcalculator.org


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