City Skyline with a forest below and text reading World Overshoot Day

What's Overshoot Day?

Have you heard of Overshoot Day?

This is the day when us folks in Canada and the US have officially used up more natural resources than the Earth is able to replenish in a year.

Oh. Shit. 

It's a big deal because it shows just how extravagantly we're living compared to the rest of the world. While we're marking this day on March 14th and 15th this year, the entire planet's Overshoot Day doesn't come until around July 25th. That's a huge difference and really puts into sobering perspective the impact of our extravagant lifestyles.

If you think about it as if we're managing Earth's resources the way we manage our finances, Overshoot day would prove that we're in massive debt with compounding interest that's pushing us into bankruptcy. 

Is it too late?!

It's easy to panic about this, but don't! Get riled up and put that energy into fixing the problem! There's actually a lot we can do to push back these dates; We have some great solutions on how we can #movethedate in creative and mind blowing ways!  If we can move the date just 6 days each year, humanity can be out of overshoot before 2050 🌎. 

It's about making smarter choices, like how we raise our families, what we eat, and how we vote. And talking about this stuff with friends and family can inspire more change, too.


What we can do about it

These footprints are largely based on what country we live in, but you also have a personal footprint.  If you're interested in seeing where you fall, check out this calculator:

And here are a few ways you can take action and reduce your impact on the Earth, and help move the date:


Support Women's Rights

1) Support Women's Rights

What a topic to start off with! The fact of the matter is that more than hundreds of millions of women around the world do not have consistent access to effective family planning and proper health education. If women the world over had the protected right and ability to chose when (and if) to start a family, our overall population would be more sustainable, and by 2050 we'd move Overshoot Day by 49 days.


Fight Food Waste

2) Fight Food Waste

Did you know that a whopping 61% of global food waste happens at home? And that 1/3 of all food produced for human consumption is wasted? If we could cut food waste in half, we'd move Overshoot Day by 13 days.

Improve your food usage at home with meal planning, using up the food you have on hand before replenishing, and composting the scraps. Food that rots in landfills creates methane, which is 20x's worse for our climate than CO2.


Cut Back on Meat 

3) Cut Back on the Meat!

Moving towards a more plant based diet is way healthier for us, both on a personal level and a global impact level. Generally speaking, the healthier the food, the lower the environmental impact is. Raising cattle is incredibly inefficient - it takes 3 calories of corn to grow 1 calorie of beef! Across the US, land the size of California is used to grow corn exclusively for livestock feed. Image if we used that farmland for human food? 

If we were all able to reduce our meat and dairy consumption by half, collectively we'd be able to roll back our Overshoot Day by 7 days. This isn't even considering the benefit we'd have on the overall health of society and the amount of money we'd be saving in healthcare and disability.  


Take Care of Your Clothes 

4) Take Care of Your Clothes

Using our clothing longer may not sound like an Earth shattering change, but if we're able to double the lifetime of our clothing, it would effectively reduce the demand on our resources by half and move our Overshoot day by 5 days

We're currently in a rut with fast fashion, where clothing is designed to be basically disposable. But the resources (and human rights!) that go into this vicious cycle are not disposable and can no longer be taken for granted.

Reduce your impact by refusing fast fashion, invest in high quality clothes that will last for years, and buy second hand or participate in a clothing swap with friends. 


Air Dry Your Laundry

5) Air Dry Your Laundry

Chances are, of all the appliances in your home, your dryer is the biggest energy hog. Studies show that in households with dryers, laundry accounts for approximately 18% of total energy consumption, 71% of which is from the dryer. 

Using the good ol' fashioned sun and wind does more than just reduce your energy costs. Did you know that sunlight helps to bleach and disinfect without chemicals?

If we can all cut back on using our dryer by 75%, we'd reduce Overshoot Day by 1.3 days.


Obey the Speed Limit 

6) Obey the Speed Limit

Well, the recommendation is actually to reduce the speed limit, but I'm going to go out of my lane and assume that many drivers consider the limit to be more like a suggestion. 

However, if we were all to take the speed limit as the speed maximum we'd have significant fuel savings, which means lower emissions for healthier air in urban areas (25% cleaner) and off the highways (12-18% cleaner). And we'd reverse our Overshoot Day by 0.6 days.


So, while Overshoot Day is definitely a sobering wake up call, it's also a call to action! It's about finding ways to live within our planet's means so we can all enjoy a healthier, more sustainable world. Let's roll up our sleeves and take action!


Further reading: 

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