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AVELY PÜTSEP / January 27, 2021

The World Overshot on July 29: What is Earth Overshoot Day?

Overshoot Day sheds light on what the consumerist lifestyle has done to our home planet.

“Earth Overshoot Day is like the day you spend more than your salary for a year, only you are all humans and your salary is Earth’s biocapacity.” - Dr. Wackernagel 

This is one of the best ways to understand the impact of Overshoot Day.

This post offers a simple insight into Overshoot Day, whether you’re an expert or hearing this phrase for the first time. Learn how countries calculate theirs and why it’s important to work out your own personal Overshoot Day. This can help you lower your carbon footprint, fight climate change, and prevent biodiversity loss.

At the end of the article, enjoy a quick FAQ related to Earth Overshoot Day.

What is Overshoot Day? 

Overshoot Day, also known as Earth Overshoot Day (EOD), is the day humanity exceeds the Earth’s annual resource budget. It’s a calculated calendar date on which humanity's resource consumption for the year exceeds Earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources that year. 

How is Overshoot Day Calculated?

The calculations of this date are complicated and carried out by Global Footprint Network, making everyone’s lives much easier. 🙏🏼

Simply explained: they take into account how many resources there are for a whole year, see how quickly they are actually used up, and calculate how big the overshoot is

Or in technical terms: They calculate the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint.

Let’s use 2021 as an example: 

1️⃣ How long the year’s resources should last: 365 days

2️⃣ How long the resources actually lasted: 210 days 

3️⃣ The 210th day of the year: 29th July

= Every resource used after 29th July was a global overshoot 

💡 Hence the name Overshoot Day

If this isn’t terrifying enough, let’s find out what the Overshoot Days of many countries in the world are.

When is Overshoot Day 2021 in my country? 

In addition to the worldwide Overshoot Day, there are also country-specific ones. A country’s Overshoot Day is the date on which Earth Overshoot Day would fall if all of humanity consumed like the people in this country

And well, yours is probably a lot earlier than you think. Many are in the first months of the year. 💔 

🏆 The first place goes to Qatar, which “celebrates” Overshoot Day as early as February 9. It’s closely followed by Luxembourg on the 15th.

🏆 14 countries have their Overshoot Day in March, 20 in April, 23 in May, and 16 in June. So, when July rolls around, 38% of all the countries have already used up their whole year’s resources

After you’re done reading this article, we recommend finding out when your country is “celebrating” this special day, and even more importantly, when your personal Overshoot Day is. More on this in the next question.

Country-Overshoot-Days-2021

Overshoot day

When is my Overshoot Day?

You should calculate your personal Overshoot Day using this ecological footprint calculator.

Why?

👉🏼 The results are most likely worse than you were expecting. This can make you anxious but it’s the only way to find out the with our everyday actions

👉🏼 People can learn from their mistakes. Only after you find out your impact can you consider your behavior. Then, you can implement new natural behavior to fight climate change.

What can I do to change Earth Overshoot Day? 

The list of things you can do to help is, of course, endless but here are some you can start right now: 

⏱ Calculate your Overshoot Day to understand the scale of the problem and make more sustainable decisions.  

🌲 Demand the protection of forests, wetlands, and other natural resources on Forest Saver: a never-before-seen marketplace that saves the natural world that would otherwise be destroyed. 💔 We need to speak up and Forest Saver is the perfect tool for that. 

🍒 As much as possible, eat local, unprocessed, and unpackaged food!

🚂 Whenever possible, choose a more nature-friendly way of traveling: a walk or bike ride over a bus; a train over a plane.

Show businesses that sustainability is the only way!

1. Choose sustainable brands that are zero-emission or carbon neutral.

2. Ask businesses about their impact on the environment: where do they get their raw materials and how do they compensate for their emissions and activities?

3. Demand companies to go green with sustainable products and services and be bold with it: tag them on social media, speak about it, write to them.

Quick FAQs on Earth Overshoot Day

1️⃣ Why is Earth Overshoot Day important?

To raise awareness on how quickly we use up resources that were meant for much longer

2️⃣ Why does Earth Overshoot Day change?

Earth Overshoot Day is an estimate, not an exact date so it’s impossible to determine with 100% accuracy the day we bust our ecological budget.

3️⃣ Who calculated Earth Overshoot Day?

According to Future Resources, the day is held by Global Footprint Network who provides decision-makers around the world with a wide range of tools that help businesses and organizations operate within Earth’s ecological limits.

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