Today it is Earth Overshoot Day: the day when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. Basically that means that from now until the 31st of December, we are in debt with our planet. We busted the Earth’s budget.
This short video explains what Overshoot Day is:
It’s not that difficult to realize that this is an unsustainable situation. The last time we were almost within the boundaries of the planet dates back to the 70’s (earliest data available at Global Footprint Network).
Here is how fast we started to put too much pressure on the planet:
1970: December 29th
1985: November 4th
2000: September 23rd
2015: August 6th
In less than 50 years we went from living (almost) sustainable to a situation where after 7 months and 1 day we start to use more than we can actually take, causing deforestation, overfishing, global warming and biodiversity loss. That is not something to be happy about.
Who is causing the Earth Overshoot Day?
We. Humans. All of us. But honestly, some of us a little, or a lot more than others. The Global Footprint Network, the organization behind Earth Overshoot Day, does not only calculate the Global Earth Overshoot Day, it does so per country:
Copyright: Global Footprint Network
It is clear to see that some countries are doing much better in taking care of our planet than others. And yes, many of the countries that are NOT doing well, are Western, ‘developed’ countries. One might wonder how developed we are if we are not able to live within the means of the only home we have…
Note: The Netherlands, my country, is not in this graph, but our Country Overshoot Day is on April 14th. So yeah, we suck… I am sorry on behalf of all the Dutchies, dear planet Earth.
By the way, you can also calculate your Personal Overshoot Day. This shows you how many Planet Earths we would need if everyone in the world would live like you.
What can I do to push Earth Overshoot Day back?
On the official Overshoot Day website, you’ll find a lot of ideas about what you can do to push back Earth Overshoot Day. How about taking a vegan challenge, downsizing your wardrobe, or have an honest and open conversation about birth control?
Share your steps on social media with #movethedate to inspire others. If we are able to push back the date 5 days each year, in 2050 we will live within the boundaries of our planet again. I am (hopefully) going to be only 64 years old by then, so I would LOVE to see this happening. Let’s do it!