Daily Note: Earth Overshoot Day

beach stone

Wanted to write a note marking Earth Overshoot Day. This year, it was the 22nd of August.

What is Earth Overshoot Day

Earth Overshoot Day is the point where scientists say we’ve used all the ecological resources the planet can produce in 12 months. But of course we can’t really say that humanity collectively achieved this, because Earth Overshoot Day is different for all countries: some have it later the in the year, some don’t reach it at all.
The UK has reached it in mid May (even with the lockdown). The US has reached in mid March. That’s pretty bad. 

“Thanks” to Covid-19, we slowed our consumption for a few months so this year Earth Overshoot Day arrived a month later as opposed to the previous years. So the impacts of the global pandemic has been included in the data. But this is not at all good news because what we don’t want is Earth forcing us change the way we live. We have to move the date as it’s creeping up on us earlier and earlier every year.

What stands out in this year’s calculation

The main drivers were the carbon footprint (reduced 14.5% from 2019) and the forest product footprint (reduced 8.4% from 2019). They were down, but again this is due to the pandemic. The food footprint remained unchanged.

What can we do to move the date

I’ve read a very good tweet by Jason Hickel the other day:
“If your economy requires people to consume things they don’t even need or don’t want, and to do more of it each year than the year before, just to keep the edifice from collapsing then you need a different economy”.

The answer is (in my view) Circular Economy but me and a fraction of my fellow humans are too few for this mission. We need more people to understand why we have to move the date.

So we need to tackle these areas:

  • Help nature thrive
  • Better city planning and urban development strategies
  • Decarbonising the economy
  • Food production, distribution and consumption is something every individual can do something about and it’s also the most effective and powerful tool
  • Empowering women and addressing global population growth

Earth Overshoot Day

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