“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 Earth can regenerate in that year.” According to the Global Footprint Network, in 2019 this day was reached on July, 29th.Earth’s ability to sustain humanity’s existence is linked to the planet’s productivity and its biological capacity. In the wider sense, this does not only refer to the resources that humans consume, but also nature’s capability to absorb and regenerate the waste that we produce. With a still growing population as well as an increasing use of natural resources, biocapacity is under constant pressure. On a sustainable planet, all of humanity would only use the resources and produces waste at a level that does not deplete nature.
The ecological footprint, measured in global hectares (gha) for the average biological productivity in a given year allows to put the actual global hectares that are consumed (and wasted) into the context of the existing biocapacity. With changing consumption patterns and population developments, the gap between these two has been growing constantly and exceeds the biosphere’s regenerative capacity. This map shows this overconsumption from the perspective of the world’s population, visualising the extent to which people overuse the world’s natural resources colour coded by multiples of the carrying capacity of the planet in 2019.