Earth Overshoot Day: Borrowing Resources from Our Children

Did you know that, as a race, we humans used up all of our resources for the year on September 23, 2008? This means that all of the products and resources that our planet can produce in a year have been used up– with several months left to go until 2009.  That means, essentially, that we’re “borrowing” the rest of the years resources from future years.  From our children.

This “landmark” day is called Earth Overshoot Day.  And it falls earlier and earlier on the calendar each year. For instance, in 2007 Earth Overshoot Day fell on October 6.  That year, humans used up 130% of the natural resources that our planet can produce for us in a year.  This year, in 2008, that amount has gone up another 10%, and the Global Footprint Network predicts that we will use up 140% of the year’s resources.

According to the Global Footprint Network, supporting the inhabitants of our planet in the long-term would require almost one and a half planets.  But since we’ve only got this one, the Earth, our supplies of natural resources are steadily dwindling.  And our waste, such as carbon dioxide, is piling up.

The world as a whole contributes to the dwindling supplies of natural resources.  But some countries use up more than others.  If every person on Earth shared a lifestyle with the inhabitants of the following countries, this is how many Earths we’d need to support them:

•    U.S.A. – 5.4 planets
•    Canada – 4.2 planets
•    Great Britain – 3.1 planets
•    Germany – 2.5 planets
•    Italy – 2.2 planets
•    South Africa – 1.4 planets
•    Argentina – 1.2 planets
•    Costa Rica – 1.1 planets
•    India – 0.4 planets

Where do you fall on the consumption scale? Maybe somewhere near the top? With numbers this frightening, how will we possible surmount these seemingly insurmountable consumption rates?  What can and others do to push back Earth Overshoot Day… or end it entirely?

Original article thanks to this green blog

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