What is the ecological footprint per person, and what is the world’s biocapacity?
This year, the earth overshoot day lands on July 28, 2022 (a day before it was celebrated last year, July 29) and a month earlier than it was celebrated in 2020 (August 22).
Earth Overshoot Day is when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year. It is calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international research organization.
Since 1970, the Global Footprint Network has calculated Overshoot Day using data from UN reports by cross-referencing the ecological footprint per person (the amount of surface area required for food, transportation, housing, and so on) with the world’s biocapacity (the capacity of ecosystems to renew themselves) per person.
Our ecological footprint is the land we need to produce everything we consume (cropland, fisheries, forests) and the waste we generate. Our planet’s biocapacity encompasses the resources that our planet has for meeting our consumption needs and can regenerate every year.
The world is consuming way more natural resources, and we have not been living within earth’s means. The earth has a lot of reserves, so we can deplete it for a while, but we can’t overuse it forever. So the goal is no longer like how can we maximize economic activities, but the real goal is how we can operate, so we don’t deplete our resource space.
From January 1 to July 28, humanity has used as much from nature as the planet can renew in the entire year. This is why July 28 is Earth Overshoot Day. According to the measure which researchers created, it would take 1.75 Earths to provide for the world’s population in a sustainable way. The date is symbolic but is considered helpful by NGOs to measure the ecological impact of human activity.
Overshoot day is calculated by dividing the earth’s biocapacity by man’s ecological footprint and multiplying the result by 365 days. Similar calculations are applied to determine country overshoot days each year in addition to the earth overshoot day.
As per research, 55 percent of our planet’s biocapacity goes towards feeding mankind. A large part of that is used up to rare and feed animals that are used for meat, and the worst part is that one-third of the food produced worldwide is wasted. Based on scientific advice, reducing meat consumption in rich countries can push the earth Overshoot Day back.