Climate Crisis

What is Earth Overshoot Day?

29 JUL 21 | 2 minute read

With five months still to go in 2021, we've already used up our quota of ecological resources that our planet can produce in one year.

29 July marks the day that humanity is officially in debt to our planet - Earth Overshoot Day. For the remainder of the year, we will be borrowing future resources and living like we have more than one Earth to sustain us when we only have one.

Earth Overshoot Day is not a new concept. The Global Footprint Network have been calculating the worldwide demand put on Earth's natural resources since 1970, when there were only 3 days where demand for resources exceeded Earth's biocapacity. Today that figure stands at 156 days.

For details on how the date of Earth Overshoot Day was calculated, head to overshootday.org.

We’ve already used 1 years' worth of resources in 7 months. Overconsumption is killing the planet - there is no second earth. #OnlyOneEarth #MoveTheDate

How can we #MoveTheDate?

Electric vehicles and renewable energy always make the headlines when it comes to how to do your bit to live more sustainably but the damage done by everything we consume and throw away is not always so obvious.

Overconsumption is killing the planet. Or, in other words, we have way too much stuff. Whenever we buy something new, we use up more of our limited virgin materials to produce and develop it, and our precious resources are running out.

How many tonnes of materials does the average Scot consume every year?

Incorrect!

The average Scot consumes 18.4 tonnes of materials every year.  We'd need to be using around 8 tonnes per person each year to be at a sustainable level of material use and still allow for a high quality of life.

Correct!

The average Scot consumes 18.4 tonnes of materials every year.  We'd need to be using around 8 tonnes per person each year to be at a sustainable level of material use and still allow for a high quality of life.

Incorrect!

The average Scot consumes 18.4 tonnes of materials every year.  We'd need to be using around 8 tonnes per person each year to be at a sustainable level of material use and still allow for a high quality of life.

There is a clear link between overconsumption and the climate crisis. The process of growing (or mining) raw materials and processing (or manufacturing) them into products to be transported, often from abroad, results in the release of carbon emissions every step of the way. These emissions are warming up the planet at an incredible rate.

There are lots of ways that we can all help to push the date of Earth Overshoot Day...

  1. Buy and waste less.

  2. Buy long-lasting to keep items in use for longer.

  3. Think second-hand first or borrow where you can.

  4. Recycle and reuse more.

How can you get involved with Earth Overshoot Day?

Join in with the conversation online by using #MoveTheDate.  

We’re living like we have a second Earth full of resources out there when, in reality, we only have one. Explore what having a second Earth would look like using the camera on your phone or tablet. 

Head outside, click the link and keep your phone just above the horizon, if it doesn’t appear where it should (like in your neighbour’s hedge) then move about to change your view, refresh and try again. You may need to check that 'allow camera' is selected in your settings. Once you spot it screenshot to share on Facebook or Instagram stories tagging @HowToWasteless.  

Read and share one of the articles below to continue your waste less journey.