The international think tank Global Footprint Network (GFN) makes the interesting theoretical calculation yearly and decides the date by balancing the amount of resources naturally generated over the course of one year with the rate of human consumption and activity which leads to their depletion.
The exact factors put against natural regeneration are our total carbon emitting footprint, the general rate of resource depletion and deforestation. The result could be interpreted this way: if we would agree to stop exploitation this year at the point at which we knew that, once passed, it would sap the planet at one point in the long run, we should have done so by Thursday.
This means that humans are consuming and exploiting at an approximate x1.6 rate than what the Earth can handle without the threat of becoming barren in the future. The GFN also estimates that this will grow to x2 by 2030, if the current exploitation rate continues growing at this amount. The 2015 Earth Overshoot Day also came six days earlier than it did in 2014, and as comparison, it landed in October in 2000, marking the rapidly accelerating rate at which we overstretch Earth’s sustainable rate.
It’s not only consumption and exploitation which drives this unsustainable rate, but also an off-shoot of both – pollution. Pollution is responsible for the loss of a great amount of usable water, oil and trees, while deforestation is also hard hitting, as trees that could fill 36 football fields are being cut each minute around the world, lessening carbon dioxide absorption and causing soil erosion and loss of natural habitat for certain animals.
A more grim statistic which could remind readers of Frank Herbert’s famous novel Dune is the one which refers to global water needs – we are wasting more than two-thirds of our fresh water supply on agricultural practices which are unsustainable in the long run, while by 2030 only about 60 per cent of the world’s water needs will be met according to GFN estimates.
In lieu of a multiplying number of such harrowing researches, a UN summit is scheduled for December at which an expected climate agreement should have most countries engaging into implementing policies to help replace fossil fuels until 2070, with other hot topics such as global warming will also be on the table.
strong>Image Source: Daily Mail