Earth Overshoot Day at the earliest date ever recorded

Earth Overshoot Day, the point at which yearly consumption of carbon, food, water, fiber, land, and timber exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate, has been moved to August 1–“the earliest date ever recorded.”  The Overshoot Day for the United States alone is March 15.

In comparison, when first measured in 1970, the Overshoot Day was December 29.

“While ever greater food production, mineral extraction, forest clearance, and fossil-fuel burning bring short-term lifestyle gains” for some, the long-term consequences for all “are increasingly apparent in terms of soil erosion, water shortages, and climate disruption.”

Research indicates that group political action is more effective than individual choices in reversing these trends.  For example, government-mandated or incentivized “efficiency improvements in building and industry” could set back the Overshoot Day by 3 weeks.

Many recent studies (such as here and here)  have cataloged widespread environmental degradation.  See the graph; read the article (Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, July 22, 2018).


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