Global lockdown lead to historic plummet in human’s ecological footprint

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Global lockdown plummeted human's ecological footprint - We The World Magazine
Photo by Ella Ivanescu on Unsplash

The Earth’s ecological footprint, or the rate at which humankind consumes the Earth’s resources took a historic plummet as the world continues to stay indoors amid pandemic.

Data from 1st January to 22nd August 2020 shows a 9.3% dip in the Earth’s ecological footprint, compared to the same time-frame of the previous year, Global Footprint Network data found, which is an international research firm.

This rate of plummet is remarkable because this is the greatest ever since the global overshoot began in the 1970s.

A fall in the activities that fan global CO2 emissions, like burning fossil fuels and extracting wood has led to the record fall in this year’s ecological footprint.

As a result of the decreased pressure on nature, this year’s Earth Overshoot Day, or the day at which nature’s resources fall short of human demands, moved back more than three weeks, from 29 July in 2019 to 22 August this year.

However, the sudden contraction of the ecological footprint is a ‘far-cry’ from the intentional change that is the prime recipe for sustainability – ecological balance and wellbeing of people.

“Humanity has been united by the common experience of the pandemic and shown how intertwined our lives are. At the same time, we cannot ignore the deep unevenness of our experiences nor the social, economic, and political tensions which have been exacerbated by this global disaster,” Global Footprint Network CEO Laurel Hanscom said in a statement.

The 9.3% dip in the use of earth’s juices is however preceded by the calculation which says, even at this current rate of consumption, humanity would need 1.6 Earths.

While this year’s Ecological Footprint data seems a success, but Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel still calls for greater emphasis on sustainability so that we can see the results driven by design, not disaster.

The Global Footprint Network research also noted a drop in 14.5% drop in carbon footprint; and a 8.4% dip in forest product footprint as a result of the pandemic.

Earth’s natural resources are not the only beneficiaries of the world-wide lockdown. Earlier this year, media reports confirmed wild animals were rebounding in different parts of the world (although many were photoshopped) and mountain ranges, previously shrouded from the haze of pollution becoming visible after decades.

Ultimately, the researchers noted, the sudden change that has come with the onset of pandemic shows how capable the world is in managing the resources if humanity focuses on one outcome and act as one biology and governments and organizations act together.