Earth Overshoot Day 2022: What is Earth Overshoot Day?
July 29: This is the day in 2021 when humanity had consumed all the renewable resources that the planet can renew in a single year, also known as Earth Overshoot Day. How is Earth Overshoot Day calculated and why is it different for each country? Let's take a look at this fateful day and explore the solutions to move the date!
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What is Earth Overshoot Day and how does it affect us?
Each year's Earth Overshoot Day marks the calendar date when humanity has used up all the biological resources that the Earth can renew during the entire year. The faster humanity uses up these resources the sooner in the calendar year Earth Overshoot Day is, which includes engaging in:
- Greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels.
From the 1970s to 2019, the date of the Earth Overshoot Day has been steadily increasing. In 1970, it fell on December 30. In 1996 it was three months earlier on September 30, and in 2020 it was four months earlier on August 22.
In 2021, the Earth Overshoot Day fell on July 26. From that date onwards, humanity was living beyond the planet's capacity and entering the last four months of 2021 in a resource deficit.
ource: Earth Overshoot Day
When did Earth Overshoot Day occur in 2020 and why is it getting earlier each year?
In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the date of Earth Overshoot Day was moved three weeks later than the previous year. This is due to the national lockdowns and the exceptional slowdown of the current economic model, in particular due to reduced CO2 emissions and less deforestation around the world.
However, this downward trend is only temporary. If the economy picks up as before, the Earth Overshoot Day will continue to advance a little further each year. The economic stimulus packages being prepared around the world are an opportunity for governments to change the current system and move towards a circular economy.
How is Earth Overshoot Day calculated?
Each year, the NGO Global Footprint Network calculates the Earth Overshoot Day based on 3 million statistical data from 200 countries.
The Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by dividing the planet's biocapacity (in global hectares) by humanity's ecological footprint (in global hectares) and multiplying by the number of days in a year, which is 365.
How many Earths do we need?
If we take Earth Overshoot Day for 2021, July 29, it would take 1.7 planet Earths to meet human demand and avoid running a deficit on our ecological resources for the year.
Visit the Global Footprint Network's ecological footprint calculator
What is our ecological footprint?Our global ecological footprint is the annual consumption of ecological resources by humans.
Earth Overshoot Day 2021 by country
Every country has a different Overshoot Day, because not all countries have the same biocapacity or ecological footprint. If a country's demand for ecological resources exceeds its supply of biocapacity, the country has an ecological deficit and an earlier Overshoot Day.
According to Global Footprint data, the country with the earliest Overshoot Day in 2021 is Qatar, which occurred on February 9, as opposed to São Tomé and Príncipe, which has the latest date, falling on December 27.
|Qatar||February 9, 2021|
|Luxembourg||February 15, 2021|
|United Arab Emirates||March 7, 2021|
|Bahrain||March 9, 2021|
|Trinidad and Tobago||March 12, 2021|
|Bermuda||March 14, 2021|
|Canada||March 14, 2021|
|United States||March 14, 2021|
|Kuwait||March 14, 2021|
|Mongolia||March 14, 2021|
Source: Global Footprint Network
|São Tomé and Príncipe||December 27, 2021|
|Indonesia||December 18, 2021|
|Chad||December 16, 2021|
|Guinea||December 14, 2021|
|Myanmar||December 8, 2021|
|Ecuador||December 7, 2021|
|Cabo Verde||December 6, 2021|
|Nicaragua||December 2, 2021|
|Dominican Republic||November 29, 2021|
|Morocco||November 26, 2021|
Source: Global Footprint Network
Overshoot Day in the UK
The UK’s 2021 Overshoot Day took place on May 19. If all of humanity adopted a lifestyle similar to that of the average British person, it would almost take 3 planets to support them.
How many tonnes of CO2 do you emit each year?
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How do I reduce my ecological footprint?
There are many ways, big and small, we can all work to postpone each annual Earth Overshoot Day.
4 ways to postpone the deadline according to the WWF:
- Reforesting 350 million hectares of forest could postpone the deadline by 8 days;
- Reducing global meat consumption by half would postpone the deadline by 17 days;
- Dividing humanity's carbon footprint in half would postpone the deadline by 93 days, or about three months;
- Reducing global food waste by 50% would delay the deadline by 13 days.
On a personal level, here are some easy habits to adopt in your daily life:
- Recycle your waste;
- Save energy;
- Change your supplier and switch to renewable energy: green electricity and biogas;
- Choose environmentally friendly transport;
- Offset your CO2 emissions.
Have a look at our other practical guides on environmental protection and the fight against global warming!