Humanity is devouring our planet's resources in increasingly destructive quantities, according to a new study showing that we consumed carbon, food, water, fiber, land and wood for a year in a record of 212 days
Earth Day, which marks the point at which consumption exceeds nature's regenerative capacity, has been postponed two days before August 1
In order to sustain our current appetite for resources, we would need to do so, according to the Global Footprint Network, an international research organization that annually evaluates how far humanity falls into environmental debt, the equivalent of 1.7 Earths.
The overshoot began in the 1970s, when rising population and rising average demand drove consumption above sustainable levels. Since then, the day humanity has broken its annual planetary budget has moved forward.
Thirty years ago, the overshoot was on October 15. Twenty years ago, September 30th. Ten years ago, on the 15th of August. There has been a brief slowdown, but the pace has picked up again in the last two years. According to current trends, the planet's budget could be blown up next July for the first time in July.
While increasing food production, mineral extraction, grubbing and burning of fossil fuels are bringing short-term (and unevenly distributed) lifestyle gains, the long-term consequences are increasingly related to soil erosion, water scarcity and climatic disruption.
The day of reckoning is approaching, according to Mathis Wackernagel, Managing Director and co-founder of Global Footprint Network  Meat Cattle in the United States "src =" https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/f49c4d4249beea8a699e8bd266a1fd5aa89c099c /0_200_3000_1800/master/3000.jpg?w=300&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=c0544a544ca513719f8c3afc74cd9e47 "/>
"Our present economies operate a pyramid scheme with our planet," he said. "We are lending Earth's future resources to run our economies in the present, and like any snowball system, it will work for some time, but as nations, businesses or households dig deeper and deeper into debt, they will eventually fall apart."  The situation is reversible. Research by the group shows that political action is much more effective than individual decisions. For example, the replacement of 50% meat consumption by a vegetarian diet would postpone the overdraft date by five days. Efficiency improvements in construction and industry could make a difference of three weeks, and a 50% reduction in the carbon component of the footprint would allow an additional three month breathing space.
In the past, economic slowdowns – which tend to reduce energy consumption – have also shifted the green budget in a positive direction. The 2007-08 financial crisis has postponed the date by five days. The recessions of the 1990s and 1980s also eased the pressure, as did the oil shock in the mid-1970s.
But the overall trend is that the costs are increasingly being borne by planetary support systems.
Separate scientific studies over the past year have shown that one third of the country is acutely degraded, while tropical forests have become more of a source than a carbon sink. Scientists are also alerting to ever more volatile weather, especially in the Arctic, and worrying declines in the population of bees and other insect pollinators that are essential to crops.