July 28, is 2022’s Earth Overshoot Day. Overshoot Day is the day of the year when humanity starts to ‘overshoot’ the earth’s renewable (i.e. sustainable) resources. Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by dividing global biocapacity by global ecological footprint and multiplying by 365 days.
As of today, just over halfway in the calendar year, humanity will be using up resources that are not renewable, for the rest of the year. Resources that are not renewable (or take a long time to renew, if they have the chance) include soils, forests, aquifers, fresh water, wetlands, arable land, minerals and fossil fuels. These sorts of things are called natural capital. If you use capital as income, you reduce your ability to make income in the future, and you will eventually become bankrupt. We humans are steadily bankrupting nature.
Earth Overshoot Day
There is optimism that growth in global ecological footprint has slowed and potentially plateaued. Time will tell, but one thing is certain: global ecological footprint is not coming down, and it badly needs to. Humanity is using 1.75 times what the earth produces each year. This must come down to 1.00 or less for us to live sustainably.
Country Overshoot Days
People in affluent, developed countries use much more resources (both renewable and capital) than the average too. So reading the data for Overshoot Day by country is even more sobering.
In 2022 overshoot started happening on the following days in the following English-speaking countries:
- United Kingdom: May 19
- Ireland: April 21
- New Zealand: April 19
- Australia: March 23
- USA and Canada: March 13
Essential Sustainability Tips
Natural capital coupled with the vast ongoing input of energy from the sun can provide renewable resources for people to live on indefinitely if we reduce our ecological footprint.
We can all learn how to reduce our ecological footprints. In a nutshell the answer is to reduce your footprint as much as you can first and then offset the rest. On this website we offer ways in which you can reduce your website as individuals and families. The areas concerned include the home, food, energy, transport, goods, water and waste.
The best place to start are our Essential Sustainability Tips →
You can read about offsetting your carbon footprint here →
The definition of Earth Overshoot Day
The following description of Overshoot Day is an excerpt from the overshootday.org website
To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot. 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:
(Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day
Global Ecological Footprint and biocapacity metrics are calculated each year in the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts. Using UN statistics, these accounts incorporate the latest data and the most updated accounting methodology (the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts 2022 Edition feature 2018 data.) To estimate this year’s Earth Overshoot Day, Ecological Footprint and biocapacity are “nowcasted” to the current year using the latest data from additional sources, such as the Global Carbon Project.
To maintain consistency with the latest reported data and science, the Ecological Footprint metrics for all past years since 1961 (the earliest year data is available) are recalculated every year, so each year’s metrics share a common data set and the exact same accounting method. The annual dates of Earth Overshoot Day are recalculated accordingly.