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Earth Overshoot Day

Have you ever heard of Earth Overshoot Day? It’s not an official day, more of a measurement of how our demand for ecological resources compares to Earth’s ability to regenerate and supply those resources over a year’s time. In other words, it’s a measurement of how much of Earth’s resources we would need to continue living our current lifestyle each year. And, surprise, for most of the planet (especially the United States), the demand is greater than what the Earth can supply.

It’s going to take some effort to reduce our ecological demand, but we only have one Earth after all, so it’s an effort we all need to make. And it’s not impossible! If you check out Global Footprint Network’s ecological footprint calculator (mentioned in our last Conservation Blog from September 4:, you’ll get some ideas on what you should be doing, and you’ll learn your Earth Overshoot Day.

For me, Earth Overshoot Day is June 19, so if everyone on the planet lived like me, we’d need about 2.1 Earths to remain sustainable. That’s pretty bad, and I try to recycle and turn the air conditioning off and I’m not commuting two hours a day. But hey – I’m below the average 2019 United States citizen. If everyone on the planet lived like the average U.S. citizen, Earth Overshoot Day would March 15 (so we’d need … five Earths?). We can do better!

Consider lowering your frequency of eating dairy and meat products, especially red meat; make your home more energy efficient; reduce your trash and recycle more; switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles and utilize public transportation more often. But truly, just doing the calculator is eye opening on how our lifestyles relate directly to the health of the natural world around us.

Learn more about the science and research that goes into Earth Overshoot Day here.

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