humans surpass what Earth can produce in a year
Humanity will mark a dubious milestone on Thursday, the day humanity will have consumed the entire Earth this year that can produce sustainably, with NGOs warning that the remainder of 2022 will be living with resource shortages.
The date — dubbed “Earth Overshoot Day” — marks a tipping point when humans have used up “all ecosystems can regenerate in one year,” according to the Global Footprint Network and WWF.
“From January 1 to July 28, humanity has used as much of nature as the planet can renew in a year, which is why July 28 is Earth Overshoot Day,” said Mathis Wackernagel, president of the Global Footprint Network.
He added: “The earth has a lot of supply, so we can deplete the earth for a while, but we can’t use it too much forever. It’s like money; we can spend more than we earn for a while until we to be broke.”
It would take 1.75 soil to provide the world’s population in a sustainable way, according to the measure that researchers made in the early 1990s.
Global Footprint Network said Earth Overshoot Day has been falling faster and faster over the past 50 years.
In 2020, the date has been pushed back three weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, before returning to pre-pandemic levels.
The load is not evenly distributed. If everyone had lived like an American, the date would have fallen even earlier, March 13, Wackernagel said.
The two NGOs point the finger at the food production system and its “significant” environmental footprint.
“In total, more than half of the planet’s biocapacity (55 percent) is used to feed humanity,” the two NGOs said.
“Much of the food and raw materials are used to feed animals and animals that are consumed afterwards,” said Pierre Cannet of WWF France.
In the EU, “63 percent of arable land…is directly related to livestock production,” he said.
“Agriculture contributes to deforestation, climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, while using a significant amount of freshwater,” the NGOs said.
Based on scientific advice, they argue for a reduction in meat consumption in rich countries.
“If we could cut meat consumption in half, we could push the date of the exceedance by 17 days,” said Laetitia Mailhes of the Global Footprint Network.
“Reducing food waste would reduce the date by 13 days, which is not unimportant,” she added, as a third of the world’s food is wasted.