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AVELY PÜTSEP / 27 January, 2021

The World Overshot on August 22. What’s 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.”

This is one of the best ways to understand the impact of Overshoot Day, said Dr. Wackernagel in 2015.   

This post offers an easily understandable insight into Overshoot Day, whether you’re an expert or hearing the phrase for the first time. Learn how countries can have their own Overshoot Day and why it’s important to calculate your personal one.

Enjoy a quick FAQ related to EOD to cover the questions you may still have at the end of the article.

What’s Overshoot Day? How is Overshoot Day calculated?

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

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 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 2020 as an example: 

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

2️⃣ How long the resources actually lasted: 234 days 

3️⃣ The 234th day of the year: 22nd August

= Every resource used after 22nd August was an overshoot 

💡 Hence the name Overshoot Day

If this isn’t terrifying enough, let’s see 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, simply because a lot of them are in the first months of the year. 💔 

🏆 The first place goes to Qatar, which “celebrates” Overshoot Day as early as February 9, and is 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 strongly recommend finding out when your country is “celebrating” this special day, and even more importantly, when is your personal Overshoot Day. More on this in the next question. 

Country-Overshoot-Days-2021

Overshoot day

When is my Overshoot Day?

An amazing question! You can calculate your personal Overshoot Day, and you should. 

Why?

👉🏼 The results are most likely worse than you were expecting, and this can make you anxious and worried. But it’s the only way to find out the impact we have on Earth with our everyday actions

👉🏼 People usually learn from their mistakes. Only after you find out your actual impact, can you analyze your behavior. This way you can implement new natural behavior which we cover in the next question.  

What can I do (aka how to change Earth Overshoot Day)? 

The list of things you can do to help is, of course, endless but there are some you can start right this second: 

⏱ As mentioned before, 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 option of traveling: a walk or bike ride over a bus; a train over a plane.

Show businesses 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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After you’re done reading the post you probably think “Why isn’t everyone talking about Earth Overshoot Day???”. Valid question. After all, it affects everyone and everything.

It’s up to all of us to spread awareness about it, as change comes from action. Let’s save our planet together. 🙏🏼🌍