Last august 19 was the Earth Overshoot Day 2014

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Last tuesday, august 19, was an important day in the Earth´s history. It was the Earth Overshoot Day of the year 2014.

The Earth Overshoot Day is released by the Global Footprint Network and shows the date in which the yearly humanity´s demand of natural resources exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year (biocapacity) [1].

Overshoot Day= Earth´s biocapacity / Humanity´s ecological footprint x 365
Earth´s biocapacity: Earth´s area and available water to produce renewable resources;
Ecological footprint: Earth´s area and water needed to absorb the humanity´s waste and produce the consumed resources.
365: days per year in the gregorian calendar.

For the third consecutive year, the Earth Overshoot Day comes earlier:

  • 1987 → december 19
  • 1990 → december 7
  • 1995 → november 21
  • 2000 → november 1
  • 2005 → october 20
  • 2008 → september 23
  • 2009 → september 25
  • 2010 → august 21
  • 2011 → september 27
  • 2012 → august 22
  • 2013 → august 20
  • 2014 → august 19

The peculiarity of this index is that, together with the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration  measured by the Keeling´s curve, shows -in a practical, direct and easy to understand way- the overall result of the sum of factors to which is currently exposed the planet Earth, highlighting directly one of the aspects that everybody is reluctant to recognize: consumption (article in Spanish).

The fact that these kind of “overall” indicators are worse and worse, reveals that global sustainability strategies and policies are insufficient, arising a question on the effectiveness of renewable energy projects, recycling processes, buildings and appliances energy efficiency, responsible consumption, smart cities, etcetera, such as they are being faced nowadays.

Hopefully, the tendency may change one day and we will celebrate the New Year´s Eve (in the gregorian calendar, of course…) together with the Earth Overshoot Day.

[1] GLOBAL FOOTPRINT NETWORK. August 19, 2014.August 19th is Earth Overshoot Day: The date our Ecological Footprint exceeds our planet´s annual budget. Consulted august 21, 2014.


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