Humans have spent Earth’s 2017 resource ‘budget’ already

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Planet Earth, Earth Natural Resources

We humans are a greedy lot – at least that’s what scientists monitoring resource usage on Earth would say as reports have emerged that humanity has used up its allowance of planetary resources such as water, soil, and clean air for all of 2017 by August 2.

Natural resources may seem unlimited but that’s not the case and ever since humans have started keeping tabs on resource usage we have come to realize that judicious use of things isn’t our strong suite and we like to consume more than we can give back.

Earth Overshoot Day will arrive on August 2 this year, according to environmental groups WWF and Global Footprint Network. This is a day earlier than in 2016. This effectively means that humanity will be living on “credit” for the rest of the year.

“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.

“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 equivalent of 1.7 planets would be required to produce enough to meet humanity’s needs at current consumption rates. Calculated since 1986, the grim milestone has arrived earlier each year. In 1993, it fell on October 21, in 2003 on September 22, and in 2015 on August 13.

Greenhouse gas emissions from burning coal, oil and gas make up 60 per cent of mankind’s ecological “footprint” on the planet, said the groups.

There was some good news. While coming earlier every year, the advance of Earth Overshoot Day has slowed down, said the statement. Individuals can contribute to stopping, and eventually reversing, the trend by eating less meat, burning less fuel, and cut back on food waste, said the report.

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