What’s the Ecological Debt Day?

Ecological Debt Day is interesting. This is the day in the year when the ecological footprint taken up by mankind is as large as the capacity of our earth. According to this, the capacity limit is now already exceeded in July of the current year. During the rest of the year, we practice “overexploitation” of our earth.

The ecological footprint is defined as “global hectar” (gha). This is the land, which is needed to feed one person. The ecological footprint is compared to the capacity of our earth. In 2013, the global ecological footprint was 2.87 gha/person, while the biocapacity was 1.71 gha/person. We are living beyond our means. But add to that the fact that footprints and capacities are very unevenly distributed around the world: The ecological footprint in North America is 8.61 gha/person, while biocapacity is 5.02 gha/person; in Europe, demand is 4.87 gha/person and capacity is 3.24 gha/person; in Africa, the demand/capacity ratio is 1.4 gha/person to 1.23 gha/person; and in Asia, the ratio is 2.32/0.77 gha/person. In contrast, the balance is positive in South America at 3.01/7.48 gha/person and in Australia and New Zealand at 8.21/14.76 gha/person.


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