Yesterday, 29th July 2021, was Earth Overshoot Day, what is earth overshoot day? It is the date in the year where our demand for resources, in a single year, surpasses what earth can provide and regenerate.
The Global Footprint Network hosts and calculates Earth Overshoot Day. How is it calculated?
By tracking global demand for ecosystems and comparing it to the earths ability to supply and regenerate these resources. The overshoot is the global deficit.
On the supply side is the biocapacity of the earth, which is the biologically productive areas, both land and sea. Such as forest, agricultural land, fishing areas as well as urban spaces.
As for demand, this is the global populations demand for plant-based food and fibres, animal products, forestry products as well as urban infrastructure. This also takes into account the forests capacity to absorb CO2 emissions.
Both sides of the equation are represented in global hectares.
Why is Earth Overshoot Day important? It demonstrates that we are using our planets resources at a rate that it simply can not supply and regenerate at.
An important point to remember is that this date is based on a global calculation, which means it averages resource use of people who use very little resources in Least Developed Countries, compared to the significantly greater resource use of those of us in Most Developed Countries. To illustrate this over 10 years ago the GFN created a tool to show people how many planets our lifestyles require. Take the quiz.