Earth Overshoot Day marks the day when humanity’s demand for the Earth’s resources has exceeded what the Earth can provide that year. For the rest of the year, we are operating in an overshoot. This means we are drawing on reserves of natural resources and producing excessive levels of carbon dioxide.
When is Earth Overshoot Day 2023?
Earth Overshoot Day 2023 falls on the 2nd of August. By this date, we have already used up the resources that Earth is able to generate this year. If we continue to overconsume, we will need 1.7 Earths to sustain us. We can also look at Country Overshoot Days to see which countries are consuming the least sustainably. As you can see from the diagram below, many of the western countries including Canada, the USA and the UK have overshoot days in the first few months of the year. While countries such as Jamaica and Ecuador have much later dates, sadly not a single country is operating within sustainable boundaries.
Image source: Earth Overshoot Day
Is Earth Overshoot Day Moving?
Earth Overshoot Day is 5 days later compared to 2022 but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. According to the Global Footprint Network, this apparent delay is mainly due to integrating improved datasets. Genuine advancements amount to less than one day compared to last year.
Help Move the Date
If each country could postpone Earth Overshoot Day by just 5 days each year, by 2050 we would be using less than one Earth per year. We need governments and large companies to implement major changes but there are ways individuals can help too:
Leave the car at home
Shockingly around 20% of car journeys in the UK are less than a mile in distance. Reduce your carbon footprint by walking and cycling short distances. At work, consider carpooling with colleagues or opt for public transport.
Eat less meat
According to a recent article by the BBC, eating less meat is equivalent to taking 8 million cars off the road. Those who eat a lot of meat in their diets produce almost twice the carbon emissions each day compared to those who eat less. If you’re partial to a burger, don’t panic! You don’t need to completely remove meat from your diet as cutting down has a huge impact too.
Aviation is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. In fact, the industry is responsible for around 5% of CO2 emissions. Reducing personal flying, particularly long-haul flights, is one of the easiest things you can do to help reduce carbon emissions. Luckily there are a number of flight-free holiday companies such as Byway who will help you book a low-impact holiday.
The power lies in the hands of politicians and governments, but it is possible for individuals to make a difference. For further ideas on how you can help ‘move the date’, check out the Power of Possibilities.