Yesterday was a crucial date. On August 9th humanity used up all the resources of the Earth for this year, with almost five months to go!
So called Earth Overshoot Day, is a date in the calendar when it’s estimated we consume the resources of the Earth. Since it started back in 2006, the day has come earlier and earlier. A decade ago overshoot day was October 9th.
Global Footprint Network, a non-profit group for sustainability has been looking at how much we have been using and has calculated by nation, the worst offenders.
This year Australians used the most resources per head (almost five and a half planet’s worth) and the US came in second. Here in the UK we use the equivalent of almost three Earths.
On the flipside, the two most populous countries which are developing use far less. China (two Earths) and India (0.7 Earths).
Many factors contribute to a country’s ecological footprint, including population size, standard of living and diet.
To calculate the rankings, Global Footprint Network takes the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of natural resources available), divides it by humanity’s ecological footprint (the amount of resources used) and then multiplies it by the days in a year.
Since carbon emissions are included in the ecological footprint calculation, countries can offset their impact by using solar panels or wind turbines to generate their power. Individuals can help by eating vegetarian meals, shrinking energy use and reducing paper waste.