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We Just Used Up All of Earth's Resources For The Year, And It's Only July

ScienceAlert logo ScienceAlert 30/07/2019 Tessa Koumoundouros

Sad Children or young man sitting on cracked earth near drying river metaphor water crisis, climate change, Drought and Environment disaster Sad Children or young man sitting on cracked earth near drying river metaphor water crisis, climate change, Drought and Environment disaster If this headline looks familiar to you, that's because we wrote an almost identical one in 2016. Except back then, we were freaking out because we'd used a year's worth of Earth's resources by August 8. Now, three years later, we've accomplished this worrying milestone more than a week earlier.

This year, July 29th marks Earth Overshoot Day - the date on which we've burnt through the amount of resources our planet can renew in a year.

Video: What is Earth Overshoot Day? (HuffPost UK)

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Every year we blow this ecological budget earlier and earlier and at our current rate of resource use we'd need 1.75 planets to support our demand on Earth's ecosystem.

The calculations includes resources such as the amount of water, land, fish and forests we use as well as how much CO2 we're pumping into the atmosphere - basically a measure of our ecological footprint.

Gallery: A look at some of the world's scarcest resources (Deutsche Welle)

Our carbon footprint specifically is now 60 percent of our total global ecological footprint - with a massive 33 days of our budget overshoot used up due to CO2 emissions alone.

Before the 1970s, our resource use remained within the boundaries of what our planet could produce - in 1961, we only used three-quarters of our annual resources. But since then, our resource use has spiralled out of control.

a close up of a map © Global Footprint Network

"We have only got one Earth – this is the ultimately defining context for human existence. We can't use 1.75 without destructive consequences," said Mathis Wackernagel, founder of Global Footprint Network in a press release.

And lately these consequences are becoming frighteningly clear, with the 6th mass extinction now well underway and the effects of climate change ramping up. 

An environmental militant cuts an orange, painted as a globe, during an event to mark the Earth Overshoot Day on August 1, 2018 in Berlin. - Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)        (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images) An environmental militant cuts an orange, painted as a globe, during an event to mark the Earth Overshoot Day on August 1, 2018 in Berlin. - Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

In just the last week we've reported on terrifying heatwaves, massive habitat destruction, and the loss of an entire glacier. 

Of course, not all countries are equal when it comes to resource use. You can check out how soon we'd use all our resources if everyone lived like you do, below: 

a screenshot of a cell phone © Global Footprint Network

While we are making some small steps towards reducing our impacts, with the UK recently managing 6 days without burning CO2, there's still a very long way to go.

If we can start moving Earth Overshoot day back give days per year, we could be living back without our planet's resource boundaries by 2050.

a screenshot of a cell phone © Global Footprint Network

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