World consumes 1 year-worth of natural resources in just 214 days

World consumes 1 year-worth of natural resources in just 214 days

Officials decide Aug. 2 to be 2023’s World Overshoot Day based on amount of natural resource usage across world

By Yesim Yuksel

ISTANBUL (AA) – The world has consumed a year's worth of natural resources in just 214 days and the officials have decided that Aug.2 is this year's World Overshoot Day since humanity will be in debt of natural resources as of Aug.3.

Factors such as climate change, the increase in the world population, deforestation and urbanization lead to the depletion of natural resources faster every day.

The Global Footprint Network (GFN), which calculates the World Overshoot Day for that year by measuring the use of one annual natural resource offered by the world by humans, announced that the natural resources for 2023 had been exhausted as of Aug.2.

The world, which has consumed its resources in just 214 days, will start using next year's resources starting from Aug.3.

The data by the GFN collected since 1961 demonstrates that the first global overflow was detected in 1971, when the resources were exhausted on Dec.25.

With the exception of 2020, which saw a reduction in the use of natural resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global limit-breaking day has been decreased to an earlier date than the previous one almost every year.

Each country's own limit-exceedance day is calculated individually based on the resources consumed on a country-by-country basis.

Qatar became the first country to consume this year's natural resources on Feb. 10 and started borrowing from next year, followed by Luxembourg on Feb. 14.

They are followed by the US, Canada, and the UAE, which exceeded their yearly limits on March 13, and Australia on March 23.

Türkiye stands at the middle of the list by overshot its natural resources as of June 22.

The list ends with Jamaica as it has finished what it had on Dec. 20.

Efsun Dindar, a member of Environmental Engineering Department at Türkiye's Bursa Uludag University, told Anadolu that experts calculate ecological footprint by taking into account of the disposal process of wastes generated during and after the use of natural resources without harming the environment.

She noted that World Overshoot Day is determined by dividing by the ecological footprint of the world's natural resources and multiplying by the number of days in that year.

- More population, more demands by humanity

The amount of natural resources decrease as the world becomes more populated, Dindar stressed.

Mentioning that every human being has different consumption habits based on geography and country, she stated: "As the population increases, the demands by humanity also increase."

"It is more likely that people would need more food, more water and more energy," she said. "This is the reason for such quick consumption of natural resources."

Consumption in socio-economically developed countries is higher than the others, the academic pointed out. "It is also more common that these countries have an understanding of consume-throw."

In industrially developed countries such as Germany, the amount of natural resource usage is high, and country-based overshoot day comes earlier for them than the rest of the world, she underlined.

"The US uses natural resources like there are five worlds while the number for Germany is three and 1.75 for Türkiye," she criticized.

The world's natural resources are not used equally among all, which brings all other disparities as well, she said.

"There are people dying of hunger, scarcity or sickness in Africa," while some other parts of the world continue to live like there is no end for the world's natural resources, she expressed.

- Need for conscious consumer perception

Pointing out that the consumption frenzy often seen in developed countries is most often experienced in the textile sector and that a system has been created that forces people to buy new things constantly, Dindar stressed that a conscious consumer perception should be created to eliminate this.

She warned that problems such as water and food shortages may occur in the following years after rapid consumption of natural resources.

This situation may cause climate migration, which is among the consequences of events such as global warming and climate change, she added.

"Diseases are also increasing in regions where natural resources are depleted and extreme weather conditions that threaten human health are experienced," she emphasized.

"In fact, we are reaching a dimension where we cannot even have the optimal conditions under which a person can continue her/his life," she lamented, noting that humans have to limit their natural resource consumption amount if they do not want to live in such a world.

"Otherwise, there is no living space that we can leave to our children with the natural resources we have stolen from the future," she underlined.

*Writing by Merve Berker

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