How to calculate your carbon footprint on Earth Overshoot Day

29 Jul 20191.32k Views

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Today marks Earth Overshoot Day, but how do we know how much of the planet’s finite resources we are consuming?

It remains one of the dates on the calendar that the world should least be looking forward to, but sadly it’s coming around earlier and earlier every year.

Today (29 July) marks Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity will have used nature’s resource budget for the entire year, and it’s only a little over halfway through 2019. Compiled by the Global Footprint Network, the day has moved up by two months over the past two decades, getting earlier every year aside from a brief respite in 2009.

By arriving today, it means that humanity is using up resources 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystem can generate, with this demand becoming increasingly visible through deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss and the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere.

If we are to look at it from a country-specific perspective, Ireland has an unsustainable consumption rate, with our ‘overshoot day’ having already occurred all the way back on 27 April, along with Slovenia. The worst offenders, however, are the small nations of Qatar and Luxembourg, which overshot on the 11 and 16 February, respectively.

An infographic showing the day countries will reach their overshoot days.

Infographic showing what day countries will reach their own ‘overshoot day’. Click for a larger image. Image: Global Footprint Network

Seeing your carbon footprint

On the other end of the spectrum, the vast, resource-rich nation of Indonesia will be last to overshoot on 18 December. However, the fact it is going to overshoot at all should still be of considerable worry to the planet, least not Indonesians themselves.

So how do we as individuals respond to such concerning news? Of course, tracking what we consume and seeing how our habits play into this is of utmost importance. That is why there exists a Footprint Calculator that enables people to determine their own ecological footprint and their personal Earth Overshoot Day.

This year, the Global Footprint Network has created the #MoveTheDate Solutions Map to work alongside the calculator. This is designed to let users connect with each other on the basis of geography and focus of interest, with the aim of accelerating the implementation of new projects in the real world.

The organisation has estimated that by setting the ambitious target of moving Earth Overshoot Day back five days each year, humanity could return to sustainable resource use before 2050.

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com