Happy Earth Overshoot Day

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(Photo – Flickr: Chris Jupin)

August 8: Humans have used all the Earth’s resources for the year.

Known as “Earth Overshoot Day,” this year falling on August 8, the day marks the date that humans have withdrawn more natural capital than can be reproduced in a year.

“From carbon sinks to fisheries,” writes Sarah Emerson, per VICE News, “humanity has taken more from nature than it’s been able to reproduce. Quite simply, we’re in environmental debt. We’ve officially overspent nature’s resource budget, according to the Global Footprint Network, an international climate research organization. Metaphorically speaking, if Earth were a bank, we’d be in over our heads with overdraft fees.”

For the last 40 years, humans’ impact on Earth’s ability to generate renewable resources has grown. Our ecological footprint has become larger than ever—it is now less humanoid and more sasquatchian:

Without fail, the Global Footprint Network says, Earth Overshoot Day has fallen earlier every year—between one to three days, on average, over the last four decades. Last year, it coincided with August 15,” writes Emerson. “Renewable resources such as crops, forests, and fishing grounds, as infinite as they might seem, are only as productive as we allow them to be. An ecosystem’s usefulness, also known as its ‘biocapacity,’ is fatally interconnected with our ability to curb greenhouse gas emissions. If these environments can’t absorb our carbon and waste, they’ll take longer to regenerate.”

Humans must find a way to live sustainably rather than draining the Earth of its life-giving natural resources at critical rates. Soon, if we don’t change, it won’t just be the arctic that will be feeling the heat—no one will be spared the effects of global warming. But there is hope, and, with new technologies, says Mathis Wackernagel, co-founder and CEO of Global Footprint Network, it is possible, and, perhaps, financially advantageous. Wackernagel says it’s in our hands—as a population, as a race—to solve this global issue.

“Ultimately, collapse or stability is a choice.”

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