Friday, 6 August 2021


Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when we have used all the biological resources that the Earth can renew during the entire year. 

This year, Earth Overshoot Day was on 29 July, meaning that between 1 January and 29 July our demand was equivalent to what the planet can regenerate until 31 December. 

The world's population is using as much as 1.7 planets a year, a figure that is thought to increase to 2 planets by 2030. Yet, we only have one planet.

The past does not necessarily determine our future. Our current choices do. Through wise, forward-looking decisions, we can turn around natural resource consumption trends while improving the quality of life for all people. While our planet is finite, human possibilities are not. The transformation to a sustainable, carbon-neutral world will succeed if we apply humanity's greatest strengths: foresight, innovation and care for each other. 

The Earth Overshoot Day Organisation has identified five key areas that are defining our long-term trends most forcefully. All of them are shaped by our individual and collective choices. 

If the world's population lived like Indonesia, Earth Overshoot Day would fall on 18 December, a fantastic achievement, followed by Ecuador (7 Dec) and Nicaragua (2 Dec). On the other side of the spectrum, there is Qatar with a shocking Earth Overshoot Day falling on 9 February, followed by Luxembourg (15 Feb). 

The rapid depletion of resources, causing an early Earth Overshoot Day is mainly due to deforestation, over-fishing, over-farming and green house gas emissions from burning fossil fuels, particularly for the industrial and mobility sectors. 

Let's have a look at the dates of the past 11 years:

2021                29 July                          2015                6 August

2020                22 August                      2014                5 August

2019                29 July                          2013                3 August

2018                1 August                        2012                4 August

2017                3 August                        2011                4 August

2016                5 August                        2010                8 August

Last year, the date was pushed back to where it stood some 15 years ago. This was due to the pandemic-induced lockdown measures around the world that slowed human activity down. Pandemics are not the solution to Earth Overshoot Day however - it came at a great cost and millions of lives. 

The solution is when humans and nature learn to thrive together in equilibrium. This recipe can be found in the 17 Global Goals, for which 193 countries have signed their pledge to.

Earth Overshoot Day has been calculated since 1970. Note the advancement in a period of 10 years:

2000                23 September

1990                11 October

1980                4 November

1970                30 December

Humanity started to consume more than the planet produces and regenerates in the early 1970s, and since then the deadline has been brought forward every year, largely due to increased consumption and population growth.

What happened in the 70s? It was the decade when dependence on oil increased, and airlines (such as Boeing 747) started their commercial trips; it was the year of rockets and moon landings and later, the Industrial Revolution. 


This movement helps eco-conscious individuals like you to explore and tackle solutions to contribute positively to move Earth Overshoot Date. Check out their website to learn how to help nature thrive, create a sustainable community, empower ourselves, feed ourselves and discuss population concerns. For instance, if every other family had one less child and parenthood was postponed by two years, by 2050 we would move Overshoot Day by 49 days.

Did you know that you can calculate and discover your ecological footprint? How many planets do we need if everybody lives like you? Find out your own personal Overshoot Day!

Go here.

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