If you need a case for optimism on COVID-19, this year’s Earth Overshoot Day fell three weeks later than in 2019 – the greatest single-year shift since the 1970s. Earth’s 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’. Simply put, it is the day where globally, we have used up what the Earth can regenerate in that year and start using up the Earth’s reserves. Every year, the Global Footprint Network estimates the date for Earth Overshoot Day by calculating our demand on nature vs the productivity of regions (more details how). With major parts of the world going on a standstill due to COVID-19, demand for energy and forest products decreased due to the economic slowdown. The decrease in emissions was what led to a later 2020 date. It is, however, important to note that this was an unintentional side effect of COVID-19 measures and not through intentional changes into a sustainable future. So, while it’s a small win to be celebrated, the next steps in during our recovery will be vital for our long journey to a better, greener, future for the world.
How many planets do we need if everybody lives like you? Calculate your personal overshoot day head here. Feeling like you’ve got a high ecological footprint? Check out what you can do to #MoveTheDate or what are the best climate solutions needed in the world.
Past Earth Overshoot Days since 1970 to 2020 calculated by the Global Footprint Network. Currently, we need 1.6 Earths to support the lifestyle of people globally per year.