July 29, 2019, that’s Earth Overshoot Day, the earliest we’ve estimated for how quickly our civilization uses up the Earth’s resources.
“Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources (fish and forests, for instance) and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.” – OvershootDay.org
Prior to 1970, we didn’t use a year’s resources in less than a year; but then, we’ve doubled the world’s population since then. Standards of living have also improved, and with them, the materials and energy needed to maintain and attain that level of comfort and security. Last year’s Overshoot Day was August 1st. We’ve accelerated our resource depletion by two days in one year. Granted, Overshoot Day is an approximation and a generalization. Each country is different, as is each region, neighborhood, household, and individual; but it is illustrative of the trend. We’re using more than the planet can provide, and using more every year. Hopefully new technologies, attitudes, and lifestyles will help move the date back to at least a year per year; but for now, we’re at 57% of the year. One significance of the shift since 1970 is in personal perspectives. Personal perspectives are partly set in childhood. Someone born before 1970 may see the world as having more than enough. Someone born after 1970 may see civilization as a threat to the planet. Recalling history and updating perspectives may aid the global awareness of the current situation.