Humanity exceeds nature's budget for 2015

Humanity exceeds nature's budget for 2015
13 August 2015 is Earth Overshoot Day. Credit: NASA

In less than eight months, humanity has used up nature's budget for the entire year, according to data from Global Footprint Network.

Earth Overshoot Day - this year falling on August 13 - marks the date when humanity's annual demands on nature exceed what Earth can regenerate in that year, and has moved up from early October in 2000.

"We are ever deepening our understanding of how crucial nature's services are to our own well-being, prosperity and happiness, and to our very survival," said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.

"We must continue to shift from being irresponsible exploiters to being careful stewards of nature's values and good managers of her essential, finite resources," said Lambertini.

The costs of ecological overspending are becoming more evident by the day, in the form of deforestation, drought, freshwater scarcity, soil erosion, biodiversity loss and the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration makes up more than half of the demand on nature.

Government decision-makers who factor these growing constraints into their policy making will stand a significantly better chance to set their nation's long-term economic performance on a favorable track.

"Humanity's alone more than doubled between 1961 and 1973, which is when the world went into ecological overshoot. It remains the fastest growing component of the widening gap between the Ecological Footprint and the planet's biocapacity," said Mathis Wackernagel, President of Global Footprint Network.

Global Footprint Network is an international sustainability think tank with offices in North America, Europe and Asia, that tracks humanity's demand on the planet - the Ecological Footprint - against nature's ability to provide for this demand, known as biocapacity.

Carbon footprint is inextricably linked to other components of the Ecological Footprint.

Cropland, grazing land, forests and productive land built over with buildings and roads all compete for space. As more is being demanded for food and timber products, fewer productive areas are available to absorb carbon from fossil fuel. This means emissions accumulate in the atmosphere rather than being fully absorbed.

To curb Ecological Footprint, world governments must come together this December in agreeing a fair, ambitious, global climate deal at COP21, the UN's climate talks in Paris.


Explore further

Humanity exhausts its annual ecological budget in less than eight months

Provided by WWF
Citation: Humanity exceeds nature's budget for 2015 (2015, August 13) retrieved 16 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-08-humanity-nature.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
110 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Aug 13, 2015
There is a correlation that I don't understand. Fiscal conservatism has been presented as a moral issue, namely not saddling future generations with our debts. The topic of this article is that we are doing just that with ecosystem services, degrading them for short-term gain, in other words going into debt. Yet fiscal conservatives are less likely to be concerned about the environment: http://www.resear...0000.pdf Why?

Aug 13, 2015
Money is their god. They simply do not understand science or that the environment is our Life-Support System on Earth, which makes our Oxygen, cleans our water, and provides us with food.

It is a simple and toxic mix of greed, ignorance, and political prejudice.

Jef
Aug 14, 2015
gkam - You say "Money is their god." You are a hypocrite.

You absolutely require Money or else you WILL sink into a horrible life and die a terrible death.

Everyone instinctively knows this and pursues money accordingly. So you say yes but I stop when I have enough...BS! There is no such thing as enough. Everything that keeps you alive is always getting more expensive, money is always becoming worth less, claims on your money (insurance, taxes, interest, fees) always increase, if you are not making more and more you are loosing more and more.

This is the system we have structured ourselves under and under this system greed IS good because it increases the chances that you and yours will survive.

You don't have to like it but you do need to understand it.

Aug 14, 2015
I understand fear and selfishness. The rest of us can grow out of it, and work together for mutual benefit.

Aug 18, 2015
What this article didn't mention is that this is six days earlier than last year and another six earlier than 2013. We have been doing this to ourselves and to our descendants since around 1970.
We are politically stuck in a cycle of population growth as this creates growth in the economy.
Money itself is not the problem. "LOVE OF money is the root of all kinds of evil" is an accurate proverbial quote. The financial dogma of perpetual growth ignores the ecological cliff edge we are running towards, faster every year.

There is a more comprehensive article with graphs at:-
http://www.alphr....een-used

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more