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Overshoot Day was August 2, 2017

Touch the Soil News #770 (feature photo courtesy of NASA)

Overshoot day, is the day that human populations begin consuming more resources that the Earth can sustain. For example, the water the world uses from August 2, 2017 to December 31, 2017 (the next 152 days) is in overdraft. Overdraft means that it is unsustainable and the amount of overdraft is not available for future generations.

There are many global organizations that embrace the idea that we need to balance consumption with what is sustainable including the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The ICLEI – a group of global cities and municipalities working together that includes most of the major cities in the U.S. and the World Wildlife Federation.

While it took 213 days in 2017 for the world to reach overshoot, at U.S. levels of consumption, the United States reached overshoot back on March 14, 2017 – only 73 days into the year. China, the world’s largest nation by population, reached overshoot on June 23 – 174 days into the year.

It seems apparent that consumption levels and the technologies, practices and economic approaches of the world need major adjustment. In the year 2000, overshoot day was November 1st. This year it has moved up to August 2nd . The world’s overshoot day is moving up by 5 to 6 days a year. It would take 1.7 Earths to sustain present day consumption.

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