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Earth Overshoot Day 2022

We have already used up the biological resources that Earth can regenerate in a year
Large truck transports gold ore from the Super Pit, Open cast mine

Today (28 July) marks 2022’s Earth Overshoot Day – the point in the year when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in the year. From today, we are therefore living in deficit.

This year, Earth Overshoot Day and the end of the year are separated by 156 days. We’d need the biocapacity of 1.75 Earths in order to renew everything humanity currently demands from nature.

If we were to delay Earth Overshoot Day by six days every year, humanity would be below one planet before 2050. To follow the preferable IPCC 1.5°C scenario path, we’d need to move the date 10 days every year.

Overshoot dates

Each country has its own Overshoot Day, due to significant differences in the carbon intensity of lifestyles around the globe. The UK’s Overshoot Day fell on 19 May 2022.

Ecuador has one of the latest Overshoot Days in the year (December 06 2022), which means its Ecological Footprint per person is only slightly higher than the worldwide average biocapacity per person.

Nature prioritised in Ecuador

Ecuador’s Minister of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, Gustavo Manrique, hosted a special event to mark Earth Overshoot Day 2022 (July 28). He was joined by Global Footprint Network founder Mathis Wackernagel, Viceminister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility Luis Vayas Valdivieso, and supported by video statements from ministers from around the world.

‘Earth Overshoot Day demonstrates that the current system of production and consumption is not compatible with the intention to continue to inhabit this planet. To better protect our natural resources and manage our demand for them, it is necessary to take concrete joint actions aimed at a new development model based on sustainability and regeneration. From Ecuador we call on the world to commit to this cause.’

GUSTAVO MANRIQUE
Ecuador’s Minister of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition

Ecuador’s unique tradition puts nature at its centre. In 2008, it made history when it became the first country in the world to grant nature legally enforceable constitutional rights to ‘exist, flourish and evolve’ through an overwhelming popular vote.

Over half a century of overshoot

The date of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated each year by Global Footprint Network, using National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts data.

The day reminds us that the persistence of overshoot, now for over half a century, has led to huge decline in biodiversity, excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and heightened competition for food and energy.

These symptoms are becoming more prominent with unusual heat waves, forest fires, droughts and floods.

The economic pressures are already playing out; according to Global Footprint Network research, by now more than 3 billion people live in countries that produce less food than they consume and generate less income than world average.

This means they have inadequate food capacity and a huge disadvantage in accessing food on global markets. If we include all resources, not just food, the number of people exposed to this double challenge climbs to an astonishing 5.8 billion.

‘Resource security is turning into an essential parameter of economic strength. There is no advantage in waiting for others to act first. Rather, it is in the interest of every city, company, or country to protect its own ability to operate in the inevitable future of more climate change and resource constraints.’

MATHIS WACKERNAGEL
Founder of Global Footprint Network

#MoveTheDate

Turning the trends around is not just possible, it economically benefits those who lead the charge. There are plenty of possibilities that are economically viable while also reducing overshoot.

Cutting food waste in half worldwide, as practiced in many community initiatives around the world, would #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day 13 days.

Upgrading urban bicycle infrastructure worldwide, to a level we currently find in the Netherlands, has the potential to #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day nine days.

Producing power by cost-competitive on-shore wind, as seen in Denmark and Germany, has the potential to #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day by at least 10 days.

‘The power of possibility gives us examples of how to build the future we need.’

MATHIS WACKERNAGEL
Founder of Global Footprint Network

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