Earth Overshoot Day

By 13 August 2019 August 21st, 2019 General

Every year, businesses, households and individuals across the planet emit more and more carbon-based emissions. Be it from vehicles, industrial manufacturing or farming, down to every fish we catch and every tree we cut down to the foods we eat (see our recent LinkedIn Post, Help your company be more…banana).

The impact of each of these are evident enough for all to see, with rising global temperatures, increasing sea levels, lowering ice cap volumes and the single-use plastic plague that rots our oceans.

But on a truly global scale, how much emission should one planet actually generate? The name ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ was penned some years back, when the total volume of our planet’s emissions was calculated and compared against what we actually emit.

New Economics Foundation partnered with Global Footprint Network in 2006 to create the campaign- Earth Overshoot Day. They explain that…

‘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:

(Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day’

This campaigns ultimate aim is to try and improve our planets energy efficiency. Encourage green energy and crucially save our planet, essentially making the world a better place for the future.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for resources and services in a given year exceed the amount our planet can regenerate in the same period.

In theory, our species should emit less carbon and pollution than the number of days in the year it takes to regenerate them. At best, our overshoot day should be 31st December every year, although increasing economies and increased product demand has seen this target eek ever closer to the middle of the year.

Earth overshoot day has been moving closer and closer year on year, with 2019 being the worst year on record with our global resource allowance being used by 29th July. We currently use 1.7 earth allowances to our single planet.

The Independent explains ‘…as a species, we are currently using up nature’s resources around 1.7 times faster than the planet’s ecosystems can regenerate them, through our consumption rates and a growing population.’

Overshoot day also varies from country to country. With the USA hitting their yearly target by late March and African nation Ghana expected to last until October before they are in emissions deficit.

The below graph from the ‘Global Footprint Network National Footprint Account 2019’ highlights how impactful each nations living habits would prove if the entire planet lived like the respective country. With Qatar and Luxembourg, the worst 2 offenders and Indonesia leading the way of how all nations across the globe should live.

So, what is being done to solve this ever-changing issue? Consideration for cutting meat-based meals by half would see us gain a further 2 weeks of resource allocation and push next years overshoot day into mid-August. Further cutting car journeys and increasing vehicle efficiencies could see another 2 weeks gained, bringing us into September or a whole month better off that 2019. Everything we can do to help stretch our resources and become more energy efficient will improve our Earth Overshoot Date. Thus creating a better future for all of us.

If you’d like to discuss how to make your business more energy efficient so you can do your bit to improve our countries overshoot day, contact us today and we can discuss the numerous potential options you have. / 02476 997901


Article written by: Scott Harries, Business Development Manager