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Earth Consumption: Humanity Living in Credit

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A majority of people in the world went on with their daily lives on August 8.  However, it is sad to note that they are not knowledgeable that humans are now into debt to nature.

August 8 is 2016’s Earth Overshoot Day. This is the day when the consumption of humanity’s resources for the year exceeds the ability of the world to replenish its natural capital.

Global Footprint Network tracks down the annual planetary overshoot. Earth Overshoot Day gets earlier each year. It happened on December 23, 1970. Then it continued to move forward: November 3, 1980, October 13, 1990, October 4, 2000, September 3, 2005, August 28, 2010. The organization computes the day by dividing the world’s biocapacity (a number of ecological resources Earth has the capacity to generate that year) by the ecological footprint of humans (people’s demand for that year) and multiplying by 365, which is the number of days in 2016.

 (Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day

However, humans have to understand that nature’s budget for the year has been exhausted and humans cannot pay off the ecological debt.

Increasing Global Power of Humans

Humans cannot be questioned in their influence in changing the planet. Scientists call that the world is entering the “Anthropocene” — the period of the world’s history where humans have global power on the system of the Earth in terms of its future, dynamics, and state.

The journal Science published a new research that shows biodiversity has decreased below the safety net across 60 percent of the surface of the Earth. This is based on the analysis of the world’s data. Ecologists say that loss of biodiversity is no longer within the safe limit.

The state of the global environment was researched extensively by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6). The said outlook said that the world is experiencing a sweeping environmental change that occurs at a faster rate than what has been thought of before. Governments should act now to reverse the damage being done to the globe.

Solving the Environmental Problem

This may seem to be a heavy problem to most people, but there is still a tinge of hope when it comes to solving this global issue. The biggest hindrance is not financial capability, but the lack of political will.

Here are some approaches that could help solve the global issue:

Economic growth. It is thought that global economic growth will progress forever, however the reality of constraints in resources prove it to be on the opposite side. There are great alternatives when it comes to living within the means of the planet. These include supporting local economies, having steady-state economics, and alternative economic indicators.

Empower Women. Women empowerment will not end global overshoot. However, it can result in a better future. Approximately 225 million women in developing countries have the desire to plan the do child spacing and timing. Unfortunately, they do not have the access, education, knowledge or cultural permission to use a modern way of family planning. Women empowerment involves having a sustainable environment. When the needs of these women are met, then they have the capacity to manage resources.

Conserve, Conserve, Conserve. A number of non-government organizations, as well as government agencies, are working to conserve species in the natural world. However, a better approach is supporting the Population, Health, and Environment (PHE) model that connects conservation and health efforts.


The Earth Overshoot Day is getting earlier and earlier every year. As responsible citizens, all must take effort in reducing their carbon footprint. Global changes happen when each individual show and do his or her own part.

There is only one planet. And everyone must do their part to save it.


*Image Source: Pexels

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