If you’ve been feeling more than usually guilty about the environment since Tuesday, September 23, there may be a reason: that was the day humans used up all the resources—on cropland, pasture, forests and in fisheries—that nature will provide this year, according to data from the Global Footprint Network, a research group. By the end of the year, we will have used the biological capacity of 1.4 planets, which is only possible, of course, by drawing on the store of resources from previous years.
In 1996, humanity was using 15 percent more resources per year than the planet supplied, putting Earth Overshoot Day in November. By 2050, if we keep on our current consumption path, we’ll be using two planets-worth of natural resources per year, putting Earth Overshoot Day on July 1. This is progress?