Since the mid-1970s, the ecological footprint of humans has exceeded the limit of what the Earth can produce. Earth Overshoot Day marks the day when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services (Ecological Footprint) in a specific year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year (biocapacity).

When the entire planet has an ecological deficit, we call this “overshoot.”

Every year, the day we have used up what should be enough for the whole year moves forward in the calendar. The depletion of nature has become a permanent state. In 2019, we had already used up our annual reserves of natural resources on July 29, which the Earth can restore within a year and thus make available in a sustainable manner.

Overshoot Day 2020

World Exhaustion Day in 2020 was actually predicted for the end of July, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is different in 2020: the economic lockdown has suddenly reduced resource consumption in most countries. In particular, the reduced wood consumption (8.4 percent compared to the previous year) and the lower CO2 emissions (14.5 percent compared to the previous year) during the COVID-19 pandemic ensured that the Earth’s resources will be exhausted in 2020 three weeks later than last year, according to calculations by the Global Footprint Network.

However, this is not a reversal of the trend, but a warning.

Eberhard Brandes, Managing Director of WWF Germany: “The corona pandemic has shown us the vulnerability of our coexistence and economic activity. The loss of natural ecosystems and biological diversity not only endangers the health of our planet, but also our own health. We must stop destroying nature for our wasteful lifestyle.”


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