Earth's resources for all of 2019 have been spent: Report

PARIS • Mankind had used up its allowance of natural resources such as water, soil and clean air for all of 2019 by yesterday, a report said.

The so-called Earth Overshoot Day has moved up by two months over the past 20 years and this year's date is the earliest ever, according to the study by the Global Footprint Network.

The equivalent of 1.75 planets would be required to produce enough to meet humanity's needs at current consumption rates.

"Earth Overshoot Day falling on July 29 means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet's ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.75 earths," the environmental group, which is headquartered in Oakland, California, said in a statement.

"The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, or the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The latter leads to climate change and more frequent extreme weather events," it added.

Calculated since 1986, the grim milestone has arrived earlier each year. In 1993, it fell on Oct 21, in 2003 on Sept 22, and in 2017 on Aug 2.

Mr Mathis Wackernagel, founder of Global Footprint Network, said: "We have only got one earth - this is the ultimately defining context for human existence. We can't use 1.75 (earths) without destructive consequences."

Chile's Environment Minister Maria Carolina Schmidt Zaldivar, who is chair of the COP25 climate change conference scheduled to take place in December in Santiago, said a major cause of the date falling earlier was growing amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. "The importance of decisive action is becoming ever more evident," she said.

Calculated since 1986, the grim milestone has arrived earlier each year. In 1993, it fell on Oct 21, in 2003 on Sept 22, and in 2017 on Aug 2.

Individuals can get involved by calculating their ecological footprint at www.footprintcalculator.org.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2019, with the headline 'Earth's resources for all of 2019 have been spent: Report'. Print Edition | Subscribe