Earth Overshoot Day marked in July for the first time — here’s what that means

Click to play video: '‘Earth Overshoot Day’ arrives early in July for first time'
‘Earth Overshoot Day’ arrives early in July for first time
WATCH: 'Earth Overshoot Day' arrives early in July for first time – Aug 3, 2019

Monday marks Earth Overshoot Day 2019, meaning humans have used up more natural resources than the planet can renew in the entire year.

This year, the day is being marked earlier than ever — and for the first time in July.

The Global Footprint Network, a sustainability organization that tracks the date, explained on its website that the day has gradually come earlier over the years.

In the past 20 years, it has moved up about two months.

Last year, Earth Overshoot Day fell on Aug. 1. In 2017, it was Aug. 2.

In 1971, the date was Dec. 21.

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Having the date occur on July 29 means that in order to sustain human activity in its current form, 1.75 Earths are needed.

“The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, or the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” the organization explained in a release.

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The organization also revealed which countries are using the most resources.

“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,” it explained.

The highest consuming country was the United States. It found that if everyone in the world lived like those in the U.S., humans would need five Earths to meet their demands.

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The second highest was Australia, which would demand 4.1 Earths. The third is Russia, which would require 3.2 planets.

The organization marks Earth Overshoot Day each year for the purpose of raising awareness about human consumption. This year, it revived the hashtag #MoveTheDate, a social media movement that urges humans to be more conscious of Earth’s resources by calculating their personal ecological footprint.

The Global Footprint Network released research earlier this month that showed if all of Earth’s infrastructure was energy efficient and used renewable energy, Earth Overshoot Day could be pushed back by at least 21 days.

In a press release, along with energy management company Schneider Electric, the organization noted that is possible without a “shift in human habits.”

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This is just the latest in warnings over the seriousness of climate change and over-consumption. The United Nations released a 728-page report last October warning that Earth’s worsening environment will cause drastic changes across the globe.

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It detailed how Earth’s weather, health and ecosystems would be in better shape if the world’s leaders could somehow limit future human-caused warming to just a half-degree Celsius from now, instead of the globally agreed-upon goal of one degree C.

“For some people, this is a life-or-death situation without a doubt,” said Cornell University climate scientist Natalie Mahowald, a lead author on the report.

— With files from The Associated Press

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