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How will COVID-19 affect the date of Earth Overshoot Day 2020?

Humanity’s efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, and the resulting economic slowdown, have reduced humanity's Footprint. However, this is a far cry from the intentional changes we strive for. At Global Footprint Network, we envision a world where humanity transitions to one-planet compatibility by design rather than by disaster, so that all thrive within the means of our planet.

How is Earth Overshoot Day calculated?

To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, we calculate the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot. Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year) by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year, or 366 for leap year:

(Earth’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 366 = Earth Overshoot Day

You can learn more about Earth Overshoot Day here.

How will the calculation of Earth Overshoot Day 2020 reflect the impact of COVID-19?

Currently, we are gathering the best available data to meaningfully assess how the current economic slowdown is shaping the date of Earth Overshoot Day 2020. To be scientifically transparent, we will document all the data used and assumptions made. We will announce the date of Earth Overshoot Day 2020 on June 5, World Environment Day.

What does Earth Overshoot Day 2020 mean in light of COVID-19?

At Global Footprint Network, we have been ceaselessly advocating for humanity to #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day towards one-planet living by design. Given the COVID-19 shock that has taken everyone by surprise this year, the question now is: how do we come out of this crisis and build the future we want to create? When the time comes to get our economies back into gear, Global Footprint Network will advocate for strategies that enable a transition to one-planet prosperity. Increasing resource security everywhere ranks high on the list of those strategies.

Additional Resources

Letter from Global Footprint Network’s CEO: Reflecting on the sudden shift in our global reality