Humans Have Already Exhausted All Their Natural Resources For 2017

Earth Overshoot Day has arrived, and much earlier than in previous years. Despite warnings from scientists, humans continue to play chicken with climate change.

Smoke stacks from fossil fuel industry against sunset.

On Aug. 2, 2017, humans used up their allotted natural resources for the year.

Earth Overshoot Day has come every year since 1971, but each time earlier than the last. It marks when humans have depleted their natural resources to the extent that nature is unable to catch up.

"This means that in seven months, we emitted more carbon than the oceans and forest can absorb in a year, we caught more fish, felled more trees, harvested more, and consumed more water than the Earth was able to produce in the same period,” announced the Global Footprint Network and the World Wildlife Foundation in a statement.

As Newsweek writer Conor Gaffey put it, we'll be surviving on a "biological credit card" for the remaining five months. Humans may never be able to pay it back. 

According to calculations by the Global Footprint Network — which pulls data from the United Nations, the Global Carbon Project, and other wide-reaching sources humans have been getting away with overextending Earth's resources since 1971, when Earth Overshoot Day first fell on Dec. 21.

While the date is now earlier, its rate has slowed, but that's no reason to breathe a sigh of relief. Industrialized nations are dangerously overextending the planet despite urgent warnings from scientists that the human race cannot afford another year like the last.

Data shows that current industry standards are at the core of the issue. The United States is a close second to Australia when it comes to unsustainable living, the equivalent of five planets lush with natural resources needed to keep the American industrial complex alive.

As a whole, the world needs 1.7 Earths to meet our current demands. As it stands, we only have one.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Wikimedia Commons user NASA's Earth Observatory

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