Earth Overshoot Day

Four charts that show how India and the world are living beyond their ecological means

The world has just consumed all natural resources that can be regenerated by the Earth in 2015. India was done with its supply for the year by June 30.

As of Thursday, August 13, 2015, we have used up all the ecological resources that the earth could generate through the entire year, according to calculations by sustainability think tank Global Footprint Network. In other words, from this day – called the Earth Overshoot Day – on we will be overdrawing from our global annual budget of natural resources.

Global Footprint Network estimates how much we consume, how efficiently we produce, how many people we are and how much the earth’s natural systems generate. As both the world’s population and consumption have been increasing, Earth Overshoot Day arrives earlier and earlier every year – from December 23rd in 1970 to mid-August now.

India crossed its own ecological deficit line this year more than a month ago. India’s ecological deficit day – the day when the country’s demand for ecological resources and services exceeded what its ecosystems can regenerate in that year – was on June 30.  India has rich ecological resources and is among the top 10 countries contributing to the world’s biocapacity. But it also has the third biggest ecological footprint, according to the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet report released earlier this year.

One of the most stressed natural resources in India is water. The Water Footprint Network finds that India (13%), along with China (16%) and the US (10%), has the biggest water footprint – the use of water to produce food, other commodities and products.

India is the world's largest consumer of blue water, which is the surface and ground water used to make a product. Most of this blue water in India goes towards growing wheat, rice and sugarcane in that order. Croplands, in fact, have the largest ecological footprint due to production. 

The costs of ecological overspending are already being seen as deforestation, drought, fresh-water scarcity, soil erosion and biodiversity loss. Carbon emissions are hastening the overshoot process. According to the WWF, the world’s carbon footprint more than doubled between 1961 and 1973, which is when the world went into ecological overshoot.

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Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.


The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.