Saturday, August 22nd marked the day when humans used up all the natural resources the Earth can regenerate in the year.
This is referred to as Overshoot Day.
What this means is from 22nd August and beyond, we will be using more natural resources than the earth can renew. In a Twitter release on Saturday, Global Footprint Network, hosts of Overshoot Day stated “Today is Earth Overshoot Day – the date when we (all of humanity) have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year.”
Overshoot Day is a term used to represent how humans exceed (overshoot) the sustainable amount of natural resources that the earth has to offer. Thus, we have used more of the earth’s natural resources than we have left.
According to Global FootPrint Network, “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.”
Earth Overshoot Day = Earth’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365.
The idea was conceived by Andrew Simms (based in the UK) and began on 23rd October 1987. As the years sailed by, each Earth Overshoot Day has seen leaps forward due to climate change and an increase in natural resources. Below gives notable dates and patterns of Overshoot Day.
- 23rd October 1987
- 11th October 1990
- 5th October 1995
- 23rd September 2000
- 26th August 2005
- 8th August 2010
- 4th August 2011
- 4th August 2012
- 3rd August 2013
- 5th August 2014
- 6th August 2015
- 5th August 2016
- 3rd August 2017
- 1st August 2018
- 29th July 2019
- 22nd August 2020
Based on the above dates, it will be observed that Overshoot Day has been falling earlier and earlier each year. This year, however, witnessed Overshoot Day falling forward (that is from 29th July 2019 to 22nd August 2020). This year has been different mainly due to the Coronavirus pandemic which slowed down human activities and helped improve climate change as compared to the previous year.
The Coronavirus pandemic has only helped shift the day by 3 weeks. Thus a lot more work needs to be done to shift the day even more and protect the natural resource of the earth.
Making the switch to more green and eco-friendly sources of energy such as solar energy and biofuels will greatly contribute to helping preserve the earth’s limited natural resources.
Let’s play our part and go Green to safeguard the earth’s natural resources for future generations.