Here’s how many Earths we’d need if everyone lived like Americans


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If the citizens of the world lived like those of the United States, the resources of more than five full planets would be needed to satisfy the global need for resources every year.


This data is highlighted annually by the NGO Global Footprint Network, which also publicizes the date on which all humans on Earth have collectively used up more natural resources than mother nature can reproduce in a year. The so-called Earth Overshoot Day falls on July 28 this year — one day earlier than in 2021 and 2019. In 2020, the date of Earth Overshoot Day moved back to August 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Industrialized nations have the biggest share in pushing the date forward. Qatar, Luxembourg and Bahrain are actually even bigger offenders than the U.S. The lifestyle in these countries would use up between 5.2 and 9.0 Earths if the whole world lived it, but because of the small size of their populations, they actually have less of an influence on global resource depletion than bigger developed countries like the U.S.


Other major industrialized nations in Europe and Asia would use between 2.6 and four 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.


People in several countries also used up less than their allotment of resources, for example in India, where the equivalent of 0.8 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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How to invest with the environment in mind


Gone are the days of choosing between sustainable change and growing your wealth. Turns out, you can do both with the same dollar. Here are seven ways for environmental and socially responsible investing without sacrificing returns.


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The socially responsible investing sector grew from $8.7 trillion in 2016 to more than $12.0 trillion in 2018 — a staggering 38% increase, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. This pace is expected to continue as more people strive to invest in a way that aligns with their values.

Invest with a conscience through three main types of green investments:

  • Green mutual funds. These funds are made up of socially conscious companies looking to promote environmental responsibility. For example, the Aspiration Redwood Fund is a fossil fuel–free fund comprising sustainable businesses focused on people and the planet.
  • Green ETFs. Invest in climate change with ETFs made up of hundreds of individual companies focused on improving the planet. Popular options are Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF (PBW) and iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN).
  • Green stocks. If you know of green businesses you’d like to support — such as renewable energy or electric vehicle companies — skip socially responsible mutual funds and ETFs and invest directly in them.


Green bonds are just like regular bonds, but funds go toward environmental projects to fight climate change, prevent pollution, protect ecosystems, provide clean water and more. To sweeten the deal, many green bonds come with attractive tax incentives.

Some popular green bonds to consider are:

  • IShares Global Green Bond (BRGN)
  • VanEck Vectors Green Bond (GRNB)
  • Domini Social Bond Fund (DFBSX)
  • CSIF Bond Portfolio A (CSIBX)
  • TIAA-CREF Core Impact Bond Fund (TSBIX)


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Have you ever stopped to think about how your bank generates a profit? It’s not uncommon for institutions to invest your money in oil and other projects that destroy the environment.

Put your dollars to good use by looking for fossil fuel-free banks and credit unions that hold environmental certifications, such as:

  • B-corp. Certified B-corporations are for-profit institutions that have taken a pledge to do social and environmental good.
  • Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). GABV is a network of 62 financial institutions that are committed to increasing the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the banking system.
  • 1% For The Planet. Financial institutions that join the 1% For The Planet movement pledge to donate at least 1% of their sales to approved nonprofits.

One neobank that gives back to the environment is Aspiration. It’s fossil fuel free, a registered B-corp, has taken the 1% For The Planet pledge and is completely digital — further reducing your carbon footprint.




Look at what brands you’re currently spending your money on and see if there are any eco-friendly alternatives.

If you love a good hamburger but don’t want to contribute to the meat industry, try Beyond Meat. If you want to reduce toilet paper waste, try Who Gives A Crap — toilet paper made from 100% recycled paper or bamboo. Better yet, get a bidet. Trust me. It will change your life.

Accounts like Aspiration Spend & Save give you cash back for shopping with eco-conscious brands. It also tracks your spending and assigns a sustainability score based on where you shop. The more consciously you spend your money, the higher your score.




There are crowdfunding sites for almost everything these days — real estate, peer-to-peer lending, donations and even green businesses. If you’re eager to help a budding business and make an impact on the environment, here are two platforms to check out:

  • Indiegogo. This crowdfunding giant has an entire section on its website dedicated to the Environment, as well as one on Energy and Green Tech. Simply read through campaigns under each section and fund any that align with your values and goals.
  • Startsomegood. This platform splits its environmental causes up by niche categories like animal rights, disaster response, human rights, food and more. Pick a category that’s dear to your heart and fund any campaigns that resonate with you.




Sometimes the most effective way to make a change is to donate to the organizations that are already making a difference. There are several environmental charities and groups that have strong, evidence-based track records for actively fighting climate change. Some of those are:

  • Environmental Defense Fund. As one of the world’s leading environmental organizations, the EDF is making strides toward creating solutions for issues like global warming, human health, overfishing, pollution and more.
  • The Nature Conservancy. This charitable environmental organization has over 1 million members and has helped protect more than 119 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers since its start in 1951.


Investing for the environment has green benefits. But it also has financial ones. As sustainable investing has grown in popularity over the years, recent research suggests that it can be even more profitable than regular investing. Here’s why:

  • Green companies typically have a higher environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) rating, which lowers the company’s exposure to risk.
  • Green companies are typically more future-focused and foster a stronger spirit of innovation, which can often lead to greater profits and higher dividends.




There’s never been a better time to invest for the environment — whether it’s through donating to charity, investing in green securities or comparing environmentally friendly banks and alternatives. Think through your financial goals, then choose the methods that will empower you to put your dollars to good use.


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