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When will Earth Overshoot Day be next year?

Earth Overshoot Day comes earlier this year

Earth Overshoot Day comes earlier this year

You won’t find it on your calendar and ideally, it should not even exist

Earth Overshoot Day falls on 28 July this year, a day earlier than last year. Marked by the international research organization Global Footprint Network, this initiative aims to bring attention to the impact that we as a population are having on Earth’s resources. In other words, today we have already used up all the resources that it takes for the planet to regenerate in one year.

Humans catch more fish and cut down more forest than the earth has available - to name just a few examples. In fact, we would have to have 1.75 Earths available to be in balance with nature. Back in 1970, for comparison, humanity used up its needed resources exactly in one year.

Nature deficit that grows larger with time

Bo Øksnebjerg, the secretary general of the WWF World Nature Fund, illustrates the resource footprint in another way:

We are taking more from the planet than it can regenerate. We have 100 kroner (Danish currency) in nature's account, but we spend 170 kroner. And we do that year after year after year. If we continue in this way, it will result in food crises, water shortages and make us even more vulnerable to extreme weather phenomena and natural disasters. Therefore, there is no way around it: In the coming years, we must give more back to nature than we take. Otherwise, it will go wrong".

In 50 years, Earth Overshoot Day has moved five months reflecting the growth of population, growing economy and industrialization, all of which demand more resources from a finite planet.

earth overshoot chart

Here's how the Earth Overshoot Day has been moving earlier in the year in the past half-century. Source: Global Footprint Network

However, there is a big difference in the ecological footprint that different countries leave on our planet. Countries such as Indonesia and Jamaica have some of the lowest footprints in the world, while Luxembourg, on the other hand, is in the most resource-demanding group of the world's countries.

Nevertheless, how much a country consumes and regenerates is not just a question of how developed it is. Smaller countries, for example, reach their national Overshoot Days earlier because the resources in their territories are limited.

Here are the top 10 countries in the world with the largest footprint:

  1. Qatar
  2. Luxembourg
  3. Cook Islands
  4. Bahrain
  5. Canada
  6. The United Arab Emirates
  7. USA
  8. Estonia
  9. Belize
  10. Kuwait

From 2021 to 2022, the total ecological footprint has increased by 1.2 per cent, while the total biocapacity has only increased by 0.4 per cent. 

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