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(Ohio News Connection) – July 29 was Earth Overshoot Day, the day of the year that environmental activists say humanity has used up more natural resources than the planet can replenish each year.

The ecological deficit can be blamed on pollution of the air and water, over fishing, deforestation, excess waste, and above all, overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide.

David Lin, chief science officer for the Global Footprint Network, says it’s a sad day.

“So, right now we are overusing natural resources and also producing more waste than the environment can handle,” he states.

Lin suggests that society urgently needs to move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy, build a transportation system that relies on mass transit, and make our homes and commercial buildings more energy efficient.

In addition, he says population growth can be slowed by giving women worldwide more economic opportunity and control over their own future.

Lin says the problem of excess consumption is likely to get much worse, as the world population grows.

Right now there are 7.53 billion human beings on the planet – and that number is expected to skyrocket to 11 billion by the year 2100.

So, he says we must rearrange our cities to promote walkability and green spaces – future proof them, so to speak.

“As we head towards 11 billion, there is going to be a mass migration to cities,” he states. “So the way we structure it is going to be extremely important.”

Scientists estimate that people first started using more resources than the world can produce in the 1970s. This year, the “overshoot date” is the earliest it has ever been.

People can calculate their own ecological footprint on www.footprintnetwork.org.