Earth Overshoot Day

Today, July 29 2019, is Earth Overshoot Day.

This is the day that humanity has used the resources the earth can provide sustainably for this year. For the rest of the year we will be liquidating the natural capital the earth has stocked up over hundreds of millions of years. Also, we accumulate waste, including carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which also degrades the environment and its ability to supply resources.

Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international research organisation that provides a range of tools and information to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

Global Footprint Network calculates the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year 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:

(Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day

Country Overshoot Days 2019

July 29 is the average date for all of humanity. However, most developed countries have overshoot days that come much sooner. The diagram below shows that UK Overshoot day is May 17, New Zealand Overshoot day is May 6, Australia Overshoot day is March 31 and USA Overshoot day is March 15.

Overshoot by year

You can see in the graph below that Earth Overshoot day has come sooner each year. The growth in overshoot seems to be slowing which is good, but not good enough. To have a sustainable world we all need to reduce overshoot to zero, meaning that overshoot day never happens.

Personal Overshoot Day

What is your personal overshoot day? The old addage is that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Econation uses the concept of Ecological Footprint as a measure of sustainability. Ecological Footprint is only a rough measurement however it is still very useful in guiding people to manage their consumption practices in order to become more sustainable.

We recommend that you measure your current footprint here. Then make a plan to reduce it and then measure again to see how you have done.

You will find plenty of information on this site to help you reduce your footprint.

Reduce your footprint and enjoy the freedom!

Fisheye Photo by sergio souza on Unsplash