Earth Overshoot Day observes global resource consumption, excessive use

World Today

August 2 marks this year’s Earth Overshoot Day – the day the world’s consumption of resources exceeds its capacity to regenerate those resources that year.

So how is the earth, China and the U.S. faring in its resource utilization?

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

At the Global Footprint Network NGO, researchers have determined that August 2nd is 2017’s Earth Overshoot Day – the day we have consumed more ecological resources than the earth can regenerate this year.

Think of it as going over budget and running up a debt.

“It’s like if we lived on 1.7 earths, but we only have one earth,” explains Mathis Wackernagel, CEO of the Global Footprint Network.

“And the consequences are that we accumulate CO2 in the atmosphere. We are over-harvesting forests in some parts of the world, in some places we are overusing freshwater, we are over-fishing. That’s all a manifestation of using nature more quickly than it renews.”

The good news is the rate of the ecological overshoot has slowed in recent years. The bad news is that this year is still the earliest Earth Overshoot Day since calculations began in 1969.

The Global Footprint Network also calculates how each country is faring.

Ronna Kelly, the Marketing Director of the Global Footprint Network, said that, “China has the largest ecological footprint in the world. China is at the top and the U.S. is right underneath it.”

“However,” she continues, “when you look at ecological footprint per person, the ranking changes dramatically. Luxembourg is number one. United States is at number six. And China is way down in the list around the sixties at 67.”

If everyone lived like U.S. residents, the Earth Overshoot date would move up to March 14. And if they lived like Chinese residents—June 23.

The group has just launched an individual footprint calculator. You can actually find out your own Earth Overshoot Day by answering a few questions.

“We can align our own decisions with financial stability as well,” Wackernagel said. “That’s why I think it’s not about suffering. It’s really about recognizing how the world operates and you make good decisions for yourself.”

The group hopes it can help move Earth Overshoot Day back, noting that gaining five days each year could bring humanity’s ecological footprint back to one planet before the year 2050.

Interested in finding out your own Personal Overshoot day?
Calculate your own Global Footprint at:!/