Global Footprint Network (2021): Earth Overshoot Day

Global Footprint Network (2021): Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2021, Earth Overshoot Day lands on July 29. This is according to calculations by the Global Footprint Network.

As of today, humanity is taking up more arable and pasture land, fishing grounds and forests for the rest of the year than would be available to us mathematically. And we are emitting far more CO2 than the world's forests and oceans can absorb. The Earth Overshoot Day illustrates that the entire world population would need 1.7 Earths to sustainably meet the average global demand for natural resources.

According to the calculations, global resource consumption is approaching the level of before the start of the Corona pandemic. Because of the lockdown, Earth Overshoot Day in 2020 had moved back almost three weeks, to 22 August. The overuse of the Earth had thus decreased somewhat. This year, however, the sustainably usable resources will again be used up as early as 2019, on 29 July. This is attributed to the already feared rebound effect, the sudden increase in emissions after the peak of the pandemic. So the Global Footprint Network forecasts a 6.6% increase in CO2 emissions compared to 2020. In addition, the global biocapacity of forests will decline by 0.5% this year. The rapid deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is largely responsible for this.

In 2000, the Earth's Overshoot Day still fell on 22 September; in 2010, it was already 6 August. The last time there was a balance between consumption and regeneration of resources was in 1970.

According to the network, the calculations compare two mathematical variables: on the one hand, the biological capacity of the Earth to build up resources and absorb waste and emissions, and on the other hand, the demand for forests, land, water, arable land and fishing grounds.

According to the Global Footprint Network's analysis, the National Overshoot Day was already reached in Germany at the beginning of May.