- Issue: Fall 2016
Earth Overshoot Day—the point at which humanity has “used up” the amount of resources the planet can safely and sustainably provide and regenerate annually—gets earlier and earlier every year. In 2015 it was August 13. This year it is August 8. While this date is just an estimate to get us thinking about our impact on the planet, it does highlight a startling trend: Humanity is consuming too much.
And our impact on the planet will only grow: The 7 billion humans on Earth today are currently using resources at a rate of about one-and-a-half Earths a year, even as we begin to shift our activities to make smart use of the one and only planet we have. So what will happen in 40 years, when there are 9 billion of us? Or 11 billion in 2100?
WWF is exploring that question every day. In tandem with scientists, entrepreneurs, business and government representatives, subsistence farmers and agricultural corporations, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters, we are constantly seeking new ways for people and nature to support one another as the number of people on the planet continues to grow. We enlist the help of many, from individuals like those pictured on this page—who’ve been part of our efforts in Bhutan, Chile, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Mozambique, Namibia, and Nepal—to the photographers who captured their images (Gareth Bentley, Sam Hurd, Andy Isaacson, Stephen Kelly, Meridith Kohut, and James Morgan).
To keep our shared home healthy, each and every one of us is going to have to get used to doing more with less. But the more we innovate, invest, and change now, the less painful the transition will be. On the following pages, learn what WWF is doing to help.