August 1 marks this year’s Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth’s ecosystems can renew in that year, according to Global Footprint Network, an international research organization.
In other words, humanity is currently using nature 1.7 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.7 Earths, according to a press release from the organization.
Global Footprint Network calculates Earth Overshoot Day, previously known as Ecological Debt Day, every year using Ecological Footprint accounting, which adds up all of people’s competing demands on nature, including demand for food, timber, and fibers (cotton); absorption of carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels; and buildings, roads and other infrastructure.
August 1 is the earliest Earth Overshoot Day since the world went into ecological overshoot in the 1970s.
The costs of this ecological overspending include deforestation; collapsing fisheries; fresh-water scarcity; soil erosion; biodiversity loss; and the buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, leading to climate change and more severe droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes. These threats can produce desperation and force many people to migrate to cities or other countries, the press release notes.
Earth Overshoot Day 2018 is August 1, the earliest date yet since the world went into ecological overshoot in the 1970s. If we #MoveTheDate 5 days a year, Earth Overshoot Day will fall back to Dec. 31 by 2050. https://t.co/ZwrDagJt5K pic.twitter.com/mGb3Rnk039
— Footprint Network (@EndOvershoot) July 30, 2018
“As we mark Earth Overshoot Day, today may seem no different from yesterday – you still have the same food in your refrigerator,” said Global Footprint Network CEO Mathis Wackernagel. “But fires are raging in the Western United States. On the other side of the world, residents in Cape Town have had to slash water consumption in half since 2015. These are consequences of busting the ecological budget of our one and only planet.”
Slovenia has region’s largest ecological footprint
According to the latest data, Slovenia has the region’s earliest Country Overshoot Day – the date on which Earth Overshoot Day would fall if all of humanity consumed like the people in this country. Slovenia’s 2018 Country Overshoot Day is May 12, ahead of Croatia’s June 19, Montenegro’s June 29, Macedonia’s July 19, and Serbia’s July 30.
In the wider region, Greece’s Country Overshoot Day is May 23, Cyprus’ July 4, Turkey’s July 11, Bulgaria’s July 13, Romania’s August 8, and Albania’s October 14.
Globally, Qatar has the earliest Country Overshoot Day this year, on February 9, and Viet Nam the latest, on December 21.