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It’s Earth Overshoot Day 2023

We have now taken more from the Earth than she can regenerate in a year, meaning we will be living in global overshoot for the remainder of 2023
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Children standing near the wooden boat on cracked earth

Today, 02 August, marks this year’s Earth Overshoot Day – the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day for each year, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days of that year that Earth’s biocapacity suffices to provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. The remainder of the year corresponds to global overshoot.

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.

National Overshoot Days

A national overshoot day is calculated for individual countries, allowing us to compare the environmental footprints of lifestyles around the world.

Qatar’s Overshoot Day was the earliest in the year, falling on 10 February 2023. Luxembourg’s came next on 14 February.

Jamaica will be the latest country to mark its national Overshoot Day, on 20 December 2023. The UK’s Overshoot Day fell on 19 May 2023.

Calculating overshoot

The date of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated according to the latest National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts.

They now track countries’ performance up to 2022, reducing reporting lag by three years.
Earth Overshoot Day falls five days later than Earth Overshoot Day 2022, but that isn’t all good news; genuine advancements amount to less than one day’s improvement.

The remaining four days are owed to integrating improved datasets into the accounts’ new edition.

‘Persistent overshoot leads to ever more prominent symptoms including unusual heat waves, forest fires, droughts, and floods, with the risk of compromising food production. This underscores the interest for cities, countries, and business entities to foster their own resource security if they want to prosper. The world would benefit as well.’

Global Footprint Network CEO

Overshoot reduction too slow

Independently maintained and enhanced by FoDaFo and York University, the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts provide robust, transparent results.

For every edition, results, including the annual dates of Earth Overshoot Day, are recalculated back to 1961 to ensure consistency across time and countries.

For the last five years the trend has flattened – though how much of this is driven by economic slow-down or deliberate decarbonisation efforts is difficult to discern.

Still, overshoot reduction is far too slow. To reach the UN’s IPCC target of reducing carbon emissions 43% worldwide by 2030 compared with 2010 would require moving Earth Overshoot Day 19 days annually for the next seven years.

This year’s Earth Overshoot Day will be marked together with the Republic of Slovenia.

‘Overshoot is a threat to Slovenia’s long-term success. Therefore, Slovenia adopted an Ecological Footprint reduction target and collaborates with organizations like Global Footprint Network to achieve this.’

Slovenia’s Minister of the Environment, Climate and Energy

How to move the date

Solutions to reverse ecological overshoot and bolster biological regeneration are at our disposal.

The Power of Possibility platform showcases a wealth of commercial technologies, governmental strategies, public policies and best practices from civic initiatives and academia.

Simple changes could #MoveTheDate of Earth Overshoot Day significantly: increasing global low-carbon electricity sources from 39% to 75% would move it by 26 days, halving food waste would gain 13 days and tree intercropping would earn an extra 2.1 days.

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