The World Is Not Enough
This article is published in collaboration with Statista
by Anna Fleck
If everyone in the world lived like residents of the United States, then we would need 4.9 Earths in order to satisfy the global need for resources in a year. This is according to estimates calculated by the NGO Global Footprint Network, which also publishes the date on which all humans on Earth have collectively used up more natural resources than can be reproduced in a year. The so-called Earth Overshoot Day falls on August 2 in 2023 - five days later than last year. In 2020, the date of Earth Overshoot Day moved back to August 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Industrialized nations are largely to blame for pushing the date forward. According to the Global Footprint Network, Qatar, Luxembourg and Bahrain are even bigger offenders than the U.S., with the lifestyles in these countries estimated to use up between 5.4 and 8.7 Earths if the whole world were to adopt them. Yet, thanks to their relatively small population size, they each have less of an influence on global resource depletion than bigger countries like the U.S.
Most other major industrialized nations in Europe and Asia would use between 2.6 and 4.8 Earths if their lifestyle was universal. Chinese living standards meant 2.4 Earths would be used up. Indonesians, with a local Earth Overshoot Day on Dec 3, 2022, were about on track of using up exactly the resources allotted to Earth's citizens (with 1.1 Earths needed).
People in several countries also used up less than their allotment of resources, for example in India, where the equivalent of 0.7 Earths were used annually.
Emissions, but also the use of resources like wood, fish and land for crops are among the things counted in when calculating Earth Overshoot Day.
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