Earth Overshoot Day, which fell on July 28, has two alarming messages. First, humanity's unsustainable consumption patterns are putting the planet closer to ecological collapse every year. Second, there is immense inequality in the demand and usage of the planet's natural resources. Wealthy states' consumption patterns, and especially their carbon emissions, are far greater on a per capita basis than those of many poorer nations. And demand for food and other resources is driving damage in poorer countries, creating a vicious cycle. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has used up all the natural resources the planet can regenerate in a year. The date was Dec 25 in 1971 and has steadily shortened since then. It means that for the final five months of 2022, humanity is in ecological deficit, further straining ecosystems to provide clean air, water, timber, land for food and cities.
Climate change is both a symptom of global consumption of resources and a driver of ecological damage via more extreme weather, wildfires and other kinds of impact. About 60 per cent of humanity's ecological footprint is from carbon emissions. It is the poorest and most vulnerable that feel the greatest impact of damage to nature, unsustainable consumption and climate change, and are the least to blame for the climate and biodiversity loss crises.