A villager from Makhanga, Malawi standing in the rural area affected by floods. The costs of global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident.
Photo: ©FAO/Luca Sola


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Earth Overshoot Day has moved forward once again. Each year, the world’s population consumes nature’s annual resource budget earlier. Nevertheless, Earth Overshoot Day‚s moving up on the calendar has slowed down over the last years.

Earth Overshoot Day, calculated every year by Global Footprint Network, was on 29 July in 2019 – the earliest date ever. On this day, humanity has used nature’s resource budget for the entire year, according to Global Footprint Network, an international sustainability organisation that has pioneered the Ecological Footprint. This means that humanity’s demand for ecological resources (fish and forests, for instance) and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

Earth Overshoot Day falling on July 29 means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. Overshoot is possible because we are depleting our natural capital – which compromises humanity’s future resource security, according to the Global Footprint Network. The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, or the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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