As of tomorrow, humanity is operating in the red for 2012.
See, today is the day that the Global Footprint Network estimates that we’ve exhausted a year’s worth of global resources. If you think of how much energy and resources the planet can replenish in a year, we’ve used up that amount since Jan. 1. Everything from now until New Year’s Eve, then, is us putting it on our credit cards. Or, more accurately, using next year’s resources. Even more accurately, some year in the 2030s’ resources.
Since 1970, we’ve been using more resources than can be replenished, meaning we keep going deeper and deeper into the hole. Each year, “Earth Overshoot Day” (which isn’t really that great a name) comes sooner.
In 1992, Earth Overshoot Day — the approximate date our resource consumption for a given year exceeds the planet’s ability to replenish — fell on October 21. In 2002, Overshoot Day was on October 3. Given current trends in consumption, one thing is clear: Earth Overshoot Day tends to arrive a few days earlier each year.
We can only blame ourselves. If everyone used resources the way Americans do, Overshoot Day would have arrived in March.
Imagine your household. The point the Global Footprint Network is trying to make is that this is equivalent to your using up your paycheck a few hours earlier every week. Some Sunday, you’re going to be screwed.