Currently, half of Earth’s biocapacity is used to feed us. This means the way we grow and consume food plays a decisive role in how we manage the Earth’s resources.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the day in the year when we consume more resources than the Earth can provide in that year. This year, that date was 22 August 2020. If Earth’s resources were a bank account, we would now be in the red.

Agriculture plays a major role in resource generation and consumption. Done organically, it can help us stay in planetary boundaries.

Organic practices promote biodiversity and boost the ecosystem. © Arnaldo Aldana

However, when we get to a scenario where our demands as a population exceed what the Earth’s ecosystem can provide and regenerate, we enter dangerous territory. To help us keep track of this, the Global Footprint Network established Earth Overshoot Day.

This date is determined every year after the Global Footprint Network assesses food demand, carbon emissions and other elements that have an impact on our ecological footprint.[1]

Photo by Imat Bagja Gumilar

Reforesting 350 million hectares of forest would move the date of Overshoot Day by 8 days. © Imat Bagja Gumilar

Using a bank metaphor, some countries are running an ecological deficit, for example, Singapore, Luxembourg, Mauritius and the U.S.A, as a result of unsustainable practices like massive resource importation and overfishing. This means that their ecological footprint exceeds their biocapacity. There are also countries who have instead a biocapacity reserve, for instance, French Guiana, Congo, Finland, and New Zealand.[1]

The research team concluded to a 9.3% reduction in the global Ecological Footprint compared to the same period last year.

Global Footprint Network

We can step up to the challenge!

All hope is not lost! The decisions we make have a direct impact on increasing or decreasing our ecological footprint. There are already creative solutions that we have come up with to balance our demands in relation to earth’s biocapacity.

  • Organic farmers all over the world use nature- based practices and solutions that promote biodiversity and help tackle climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil.
  • Citizens are biking to cut down on their carbon footprint.

Join us on September 25 for our global action day #IGrowYourFood to learn directly from organic farmers around the world how we can both produce and consume more sustainably.

[1] Ecological footprint is a method that measures how much of nature’ resources is needed to support a population

[2] Data was collected by the Global Footprint Network. Find full list of countries here