Skip to content

New study shows resources being consumed faster than ever

According to a recent article in the Guardian, “humanity is devouring our planet’s resources in increasingly destructive volumes.”  A new study reveals that we have consumed a year’s worth of carbon, food, water, fibre, land and timber in a record 212 days.

As a result, the Earth Overshoot Day – which marks the point at which consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate – has moved forward two days to August 1, the earliest date ever recorded.

The Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation that makes an annual assessment of how far humankind is falling into ecological debt, says we would need the equivalent of 1.7 Earths to keep pace with our current use of resources.

The study points to “increasing food production, mineral extraction, forest clearance and fossil-fuel burning that bring short-term (and unequally distributed) lifestyle gains. The long-term consequences are increasingly apparent in terms of soil erosion, water shortages and climate disruption.”

“Our current economies are running a Ponzi scheme with our planet,” said Mathis Wackernagel, chief executive and co-founder of Global Footprint Network. “We are borrowing the Earth’s future resources to operate our economies in the present. Like any Ponzi scheme, this works for some time. But as nations, companies, or households dig themselves deeper and deeper into debt, they eventually fall apart.”

The Council of Canadians supports a future of sustainability and stewardship that ensures the Earth’s resources are publicly and responsibly managed. Our Vision Statement highlights, “We believe this path must be founded on a deep understanding of our place within life and nature. We are the only species capable of profoundly altering the biosphere. That must inspire us to humility, not arrogance; to stewardship, not exploitation; and to social solidarity, not competition.