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'Earth Overshoot Day': Humanity reaches a worrying milestone

Newshub logoNewshub 2/08/2018 Dan Satherley

© Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited As of Thursday, humanity's used more resources in 2018 than the Earth can produce in a whole year, according to environmentalists.

According to Global Footprint Network, this year's 'Earth Overshoot Day' came earlier than ever before.

"Since the 1970s, when global ecological overshoot became a reality, we have been using more renewable natural resources than our planet can regenerate," the international non-profit says.

"This is akin to drawing down the biosphere's principal rather than living off its annual interest.

"To support our demands on nature, we have been liquidating resource stocks and allowing carbon dioxide to accumulate in the atmosphere."

a screenshot of a cell phone © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited In the early 1980s, it took until mid-December to reach Earth Overshoot Day, calculated by working out the world's biocapacity and dividing it by demand.

About 86 percent of countries use more than they produce. 

a close up of a map © Provided by MediaWorks NZ Limited

The biggest resource consumers are from UAE, Luxembourg and Qatar. If everyone lived like Qatarians, we'd need more than nine planets and Earth Overshoot Day would happen on February 9.

When comparing resource use to production, the worst offender is Singapore - using 99 times the resources it produces, compared to New Zealand's 0.5.

The world began consuming more resources than it can create around about 1969, according to Global Footprint Network. Since then, the world's population has doubled.

Though the pace of increasing consumption has levelled off in recent years, August 2 is still the earliest Earth Overshoot Day has arrived.

Pictures: The most populated countries on Earth

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