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‘Earth Overshoot Day’ 2021


Humanity has again used up all biological resources that our planet regenerates during the entire year by July 29, 2021, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).


GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Conservation of the Environment)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Earth overshoot day?
  2. Earth Overshoot Day 2021
  3. What are the reasons for Earth Overshoot Day coming sooner in 2021?

What is Earth overshoot day?

  • Earth overshoot day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources (fish and forests, for instance) and services in a given year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year.
  • Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year: (Earth’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day.

Earth Overshoot Day 2021

  • For the year 2021, we humans have used up all the biological resources that our planet can regenerate in the entire year 2021- by July 29, 2021 itself (From now, whatever we use is excess).
  • July 29 is worryingly the same date that the world reached two years ago in 2019. This means that the modest gains accrued from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as far as humanity’s ecological footprint is concerned have been lost.

What are the reasons for Earth Overshoot Day coming sooner in 2021?

  • There was a 6.6% increase in the global carbon footprint (a measure of the impact people’s activities have on the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced through the burning of fossil fuels and is expressed as a weight of CO2 emissions produced in tonnes) in 2020.
  • There was also a 0.5% decrease in ‘global forest biocapacity’ due to a rise in deforestation of the Amazon’s rainforests. Some 1.1 million hectares of rainforest were lost in Brazil alone, which is home to the largest swathe of Amazonian rainforest.
  • There is also the prediction that there would be a 43% year-over-year increase in deforestation in 2021.
  • Global energy-related CO2 emissions will increase by almost 5% in 2021 compared to 2020 levels as economies try to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine

December 2023