Between the turn of the calendar year and today, Wednesday 2nd August 2017, we will have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year. Does this surprise you?
This means that humanity uses more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests, and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests and the wider natural environment can sequester.
What is Earth Overshoot Day?
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits.
The basic calculation (it has rather more complexities than it may look on first glance):
(Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365
= Earth Overshoot Day
To find out more about who the day is calculated, visit the Earth Overshoot Day website.
It's Getting Earlier and Earlier
This year is the earliest Earth Overshoot Day has ever been, which we think is cause for concern, despite what some think about the accuracy of the calculations. It is a warning sign nonetheless!
The graph below illustrates the annual Earth Overshoot Day date changes since 1969. But, past Earth Overshoot Day dates keep changing - find out why.
Tell Us What You Think
We would be very interested to hear what registered environmental professionals think to the validity of this calculation, what can be done to reduce our ecological footprint, and how it is effecting their daily working lives. Email Phil Underwood with your thoughts, comment below or Tweet us @SocEnv_HQ.