If the earth was a bank, we would have overextended ourselves on credit.
Humanity is well on track for exhausting the planet’s resources. If you spent all of your annual salary by Aug. 22, you’d be in trouble for the rest of the year, using credit you'd have to pay back eventually. That’s kind of what we’re doing with the planet’s resources, according to Overshootday.org, which calculates the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. That day is Aug. 22, 2020, also know as World Overshoot Day.
Even though the pandemic caused humanity's ecological footprint to contract somewhat this year, our path is not sustainable.
Different parts of the world are endowed with different resources and consume them at different rates. Some countries use more resources, per person, than others. Some individuals use more than others. The amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources is their ecological footprint.
So which countries are using the most resources per person? How quickly are they spending their natural resource paycheck, so to speak?
A country’s overshoot day is the date on which Earth Overshoot Day would fall if all of humanity consumed like the people in this country. (To break even, it should be Dec. 31. The earlier in the year, the more resources have been used.) According to the Global Footprint Network, these are the countries with the biggest ecological footprint.
Two small countries, Qatar and Luxembourg, top the list with the earliest overshoot days: Qatar (pop. 2.8 million) on Feb. 11 and Luxembourg (pop. 604,000) on Feb. 16. Following these are: