Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Humans Have Already Depleted Earth’s Resources For The Year

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Kristen Harrington | 02 August, 2018, 16:22

Humanity has overdrawn the planet's annual budget of resources.

Global Footprint Network (GFN), an worldwide research organisation, says that in 1997 the Earth Overshoot Day fell in late September.

In 2018, humans will use up the equivalent of 1.7 Earths.

One of the main natural resources being depleted is water. The reported overuse of the planet's natural resources has continued to move that date up on the calendar every year since. The "1.7 Earths" figure is an average of resource consumption across the planet.

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"Our economies are running a Ponzi scheme with our planet", said the network's CEO Mathis Wackernagel.

GFN proposed several suggestions to address the situation. Reducing driving by 50%, replacing one-third of auto miles with public transportation and the rest by walking and biking, would win back another 12 days.

Halve the carbon component of the EF, such as reducing meat consumption. According to the report, it takes 14 times as much land to produce a ton of beef as it takes to produce a ton of grain.

GFN said if every other family in the world had one child fewer, EOD will move back 30 days by 2050. However, it noted that China, with the largest total EF, decreased 0.3 percent from 2013 to 2014. It presents new direction for business to ensure sustained growth by driving productivity and profitability that also benefits the planet and its people.

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In the United States, fire seasons in California have been getting progressively worse, largely due to climate change and droughts. The GFN, founded in 2003, now owns the EOD. The think tank calculates how many resources a country produces by looking at areas like farmland, grassland, forests, oceans, and cities. It does not show ecological depletion for other categories it measures. Farming activities can cause pollution, water depletion, soil erosion and deforestation, none of which are measured by the EF. The calculations are based on United Nation data sets from 1961 to 2014 as well as recent scientific research. If everyone were Australian, 4.1 Earths would be needed.

The overshoot happens because humans use more natural resources way faster than Earth can reproduce through excessive fishing, forest harvesting, and the continuous emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Worryingly, 1 August marks the earliest Earth Overshoot Day ever since records began.

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