Skip to main content

Will humanity exhaust the planet's resources? Guess what? We already have, at least for this year, and we've been doing it every year for decades.

Earth Overshoot Day is the day on which human beings' annual demand on natural resources, such as forests and fish, exceeds what the planet can regenerate in that year. This year it fell on July 29, three days earlier than last year. That means we used up resources five months early. At this rate, we need 1.75 planets to meet our needs.(To break even, it would be Dec. 31.)

We keep growing this deficit by liquidating the Earth's natural capital and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, according to the Global Footprint Network, an international research organization that compiles the data.

A country's individual overshoot day is the date on which Earth Overshoot Day would fall if all of humanity consumed like the people in that country. The biggest offenders are relatively small countries: Qatar, pictured here, a country of 2.8 million people, is No. 1, with an overshoot day falling on Feb. 11, just six weeks into the year, followed closely by tiny Luxembourg (pop. 604,245) with an overshoot day of Feb. 16.

We highlight the overshoot day of the world's most populated countries, and included the overshoot day for the smaller countries along with them. According to the Global Footprint Network, if the world's population lived like these countries, here is when world overshoot day would fall: