29th July marked the Earth Overshoot Day

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  • Humans consume the same amount of ecological resources as if we lived in 1.6 Planets.
    Humans consume the same amount of ecological resources as if we lived in 1.6 Planets. Source: Pixabay.

This is the date when we exceed the resources that the Planet can generate, according to the Global Footprint Network.

29th July this year marked the Earth Overshoot Day. The Global Footprint Network sets this fateful date every year based on statistical data provided by the UN.

The calculation is reached by dividing the resources generated by our Planet by the human ecological footprint. According to the organization, which brings together hundreds of people, countries, scientists and NGOs, “humans consume the same amount of ecological resources as if we lived in 1.6 Planets”.

The evolution of our ecological threshold

The GFN also takes into account data gathered by the Global Carbon Project (GCP), which integrates knowledge on greenhouse gases generated by human activity and the Earth’s systems. All in all, it determines this threshold over time.

As can be seen in the graph, the global trend regarding Earth Overshoot Date is progressive. However, in recent decades the date has moved forward in the calendar at a slower pace.

If we take 2020, this date was determined at 22 August. This date is consequent with the initial drop in natural resource consumption during the first half of the year due to reduced activity from Covid-19.

According to the most recent Living Planet Report 2020 published by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), “As a result of our 21st century lifestyles, our natural world is transforming more rapidly than ever before as a result of our lifestyle in the 21st century, and climate change is further accelerating the change”.

WWF’s report also reads “Since 1970 our Ecological Footprint has exceeded the Earth’s rate of regeneration. This overshoot erodes the planet’s health and, with it, humanity’s prospects”.

Calculate your own Ecological Footprint

The website of the Global Footprint Network also allows you to make your own calculations and see how many planets we’d need if everyone lived the same way you do. With you can also determine which would be your Earth Overshoot Day.

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