Earth Overshoot Day 2022

Posted by Andi

What is Earth Overshoot Day?

Overshoot day marks the date when humanity has used all the biological resources that Earth regenerates during the entire year. For example, humans plant around 2 billion trees in a year. Earth Overshoot Day marks when we’ve used up 2 billion trees, for timber or to clear space for rearing cattle. For the rest of the year after Earth Overshoot Day, humanity has to cut down other trees to cater to demand – meaning at some point in the future all of Earth’s trees will eventually be used up. 

When did it happen?

This year, it occurred on July 28th which is earlier than ever before. This is largely due to a demand for food, land, timber and new urban infrastructure to cater to a growing population. 

Not only we have outstripped the Earth’s natural resources, but it also means we’ve outstripped the planet’s annual capacity to absorb waste products such as carbon dioxide. 

Humans currently use 75% more biological resources than the earth can regenerate. If humanity can move the date of Earth Overshoot Day by six days every year, humanity will be able to get back to using the same amount or potentially fewer resources than the earth regenerates.

Back in the 1970s, Earth Overshoot Day did not come until November or December, but the date has since come sooner and sooner at an alarming rate. 

How is it calculated?

Earth Overshoot Day is computed by dividing the planet’s biocapacity (the amount of ecological resources Earth is able to generate that year), by humanity’s Ecological Footprint (humanity’s demand for that year), and multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year.

What can we do to help move the date back?

Members of the public can do their bit by walking or cycling to work, removing meat from their diet one day a week, opting for reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic bottles and making carbon-neutral home improvements.


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