What is Earth Overshoot Day 2021 in UPSC IAS?

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

  • Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network (GFN), an international research organization that provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.
  • GFN maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • 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:
  • (Earth’s Biocapacity Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day
  • The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot.
  • 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 biocapacity are expressed in global hectares.
  • WWF, the world’s largest conservation organization, has participated in Earth Overshoot Day since 2007.
  • In 2019Earth Overshoot Daywas on July 29.
  • Earth Overshoot Day 2020 landed on August 22, more than three weeks later than in 2019, according to Global Footprint Network.
  • The date reflects the 9.3% reduction of humanity’s Ecological Footprint from January 1stto Earth Overshoot Day compared to the same period last year, which is a direct consequence of the coronavirus-induced lockdowns around the world.    
Country (there are countries between Canada and China) Overshoot Day
Qatar February 11, 2020
Luxembourg February 16, 2020
United Arab Emirates March 7, 2020
Bahrain March 10, 2020
Kuwait March 10, 2020
Trinidad and Tobago March 12, 2020
United States of America March 14, 2020
Canada March 18, 2020
China June 13, 2020

1t.org 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.
  • The org project aims to unite governments, non-governmental organisations, businesses and individuals in a “mass-scale nature restoration”.
  • A day ahead of its official launch, the initiative received the support of US President Donald Trump.
  • The Forum acknowledged the work of existing reforestation schemes such as American Forests and the Trillion Trees Initiative and said 1t.org was “an opportunity to help join-up these initiatives in a unifying platform”, and help mobilize funds and political support.

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 Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

  • It is an international organization committed to conservation of the environment.
  • Mission:
  • to conserve the world’s biological diversity,
  • to ensure that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and
  • to promote the reduction of pollution and of wasteful consumption.
  • The WWF provides money for conservation initiatives around the world.
  • These include programs focused on individual species, forests, and freshwater and marine issues as well as climate change and responsible international trade.
  • The group has also been involved in efforts to provide a safe and sustainable habitat for the world’s peoples, both urban and rural, including clean water, clean air, healthful food, and rewarding recreation areas.
  • Among the WWF’s notable achievements is its use of debt-for-nature swaps, in which an organization buys some of a country’s foreign debt at a discount, converts the money to local currency, and then uses it to finance conservation efforts.
  • The WWF’s first successful debt-for-nature swap took place in 1987 in Ecuador.
  • The organization’s logo is a distinctive panda.

BirdLife International

  • BirdLife International (formerly the International Council for Bird Preservation) is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
  • It is the world’s largest partnership of conservation organisations, with over 120 partner organisations.
  • BirdLife International is the official Red List authority for birds, for the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)

  • IBA is an area identified using an internationally agreed set of criteria.
  • These are globally important for the conservation of bird populations.
  • The program was developed and sites are identified by BirdLife International.
  • Currently there are over 12,000 IBAs worldwide.
  • IBAs are identified for terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments as well.
  • Legal protection only if they become part of already protected areas, so no special legal protection on being identified as an IBA.


  • To be listed as an IBA, a site must satisfy at least one of the following criteria:
  1. Globally threatened species
  • Regular presence of a Critical or Endangered species, irrespective of population size, OR
  • Vulnerable species, more than a threshold limit.
  1. Restricted-range species
  2. Biome-restricted species
  3. Congregations

Do you know?

Why did birds lose their teeth?

  • Birds gave up teeth to speed up egg hatching.
  • This is because there is no need to wait for the embryo to develop teeth — a process that can consume 60% of egg incubation time.

Wildlife Conservation Society

  • WCS is a New York based international NGO whose mission is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.
  • Its goal is to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 15 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the planet’s biodiversity.
    In 2013 WCS developed a new strategy called WCS: 2020 Strategy.
  • WCS is supporting the management of 8 of the 19 World Heritage sites that have been declared Sites in Danger.


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