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Today (July 29) marks Earth Overshoot Day
Extinction Rebellion’s Rebellion Day, November 2018Photography Daniel Wong

We’ve already used up all of Earth’s budgeted resources for the year

Happy Monday! We’re all going to die!

In very cool, very normal news, we’ve already used up our allowance for natural resources – including water, soil, and clean air – for all of 2019.

A new report by sustainability organisation Global Footprint Network shows that this year’s Earth Overshoot Day – the date when consumption for the year exceeds the Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources – is the earliest ever. At our current consumption rates, we would reportedly need 1.75 planets to produce enough to meet humanity’s needs, meaning we’re using resources almost twice as fast as we should. 

The study states: “The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, or the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The latter leads to climate change and more frequent extreme weather events.”

Earth Overshoot Day has moved forward drastically over the last 40 years, moving two whole months in the last two decades alone. 

Although we are currently able to overuse resources, Global Footprint Network founder Mathis Wackernagel asserts that humanity will eventually have to operate within the means of the Earth’s resources, with balance restored either by disaster or design.

“We have only got one Earth,” Wackernagel urges in the report, “this is the ultimately defining context for human existence. We can’t use 1.75 without destructive consequences.”

The organisation is now pushing its #MoveTheDate campaign which aims to move Earth Overshoot Day back by five days each year, allowing “humanity to reach one-planet compatibility before 2050”. The primary aim of the campaign is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, with the study detailing that cutting CO2 by 50 per cent from fossil fuel burning would give humanity 93 more days yearly.

Climate change is a hot (sorry) topic of conversation recently, with activist group Extinction Rebellion taking direct action against the government’s inaction, and teenager Greta Thunberg leading school strikes for the climate. 

Although the UK government has pledged to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050 – a date slammed as too late to make change – the British public still rightly thinks there isn’t enough being done to tackle our ecological emergency. As Thunberg said in an interview with Dazed, “the best medicine is to do something about it, to try and make a change”.