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Post at: Sep 16 2021

Earth Overshoot Day

Recent Context 

  • According to the World wide Fund for Nature (WWF), humanity has again used up all biological resources that our planet regenerates during the entire year by July 29, 2021, 

Origin of the Concept of Overshoot  

  • The concept of Earth Overshoot Day was first conceived by Andrew Simms of the UK, think tank New Economics Foundation, which partnered with Global Footprint Network in 2006 to launch the first global Earth Overshoot Day campaign.
  • WWF, the world’s largest conservation organisation, has participated in Earth Overshoot Day since 2007.
  • It is to be noted that the Earth Overshoot Day in 2006 fell in October.

  • The Ecological Footprint is a metric that comprehensively compares human demand on nature against nature’s capacity to regenerate. 
  • The Ecological Footprint tracks the use of six categories of productive surface areas: cropland, grazing land, fishing grounds, built-up land, forest area, and carbon demand on land.
  • Both the Ecological Footprint and bio capacity are expressed in global hectares.
  • The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot.  

  • Source: WWF Japan and Global Footprint Network; Ecological Footprint for Sustainable Living in Japan

Global Footprint Network 

  • Global Footprint Network is an international non-profit organization founded in the year 2003. Its key strategy has been to make available robust Ecological Footprint data. 
  • Global Footprint Network measures a population’s demand for and ecosystems’ supply of resources and services. These calculations then serve as the foundation for calculating Earth Overshoot Day.

Previous Year’s Overshoot Day  

  • Earth Overshoot Day 2020 in 2019 was observed on July 29.
  • But the next year, in 2020, the overshoot day was landed on August 22, more than three weeks later than in 2019, according to Global Footprint Network.


  • July 29 in 2021, earth overshoot day, is worryingly the exact 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 to have been lost.
  • WWF noticed that the prime driver was the 6.6 per cent increase in the global carbon footprint in 2020.
  • There was also a 0.5 per cent decrease in ‘global forest bio capacity’ due to a rise in deforestation of the Amazon’s rainforests. 
  • This spending was currently some of the largest since the world entered into ecological overshoot in the early 1970s, according to the National Footprint & Bio capacity Accounts based on UN datasets.  

Global Initiatives to delay the Earth Overshoot in the Year Project

  • The World Economic Forum has launched a global initiative to grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world – in a bid to restore biodiversity and help fight climate change.

Trillion Trees Initiative 

  • Trillion Trees is a collaboration between three of the world’s largest conservation organisations – Wildlife Conservation Society, BirdLife International and World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) – to protect and restore one trillion trees by 2050.

World Wildlife Fund 

  • The World wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is an international non-governmental organisation founded in 1961 that works in the field of wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment. It was formerly named the World Wildlife Fund.
  • The Living Planet Report has been published every two years by WWF since 1998; it is based on a Living Planet Index and ecological footprint calculation.
  • In addition, WWF has launched several notable worldwide campaigns, including Earth Hour and Debt-for-nature swap, and its current work is organised around these six areas: food, climate, freshwater, wildlife, forests, and oceans. 

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