Is it me, or does Earth Overshoot Day get earlier every year?

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We write this blog post in mid-September, and the posters in our local pub urging us to book our Christmas parties have already been up for a couple of weeks. We fully expect those weird blue aliens on the Argos TV adverts to don Santa hats any time soon, while a discrete corner of our supermarket will have the Easter eggs out for the early birds.

Yes, Christmas comes earlier every year, and so does one other important dates that’s often overlooked: Earth Overshoot Day.

According to the Global Footprint Network, Earth Overshoot Day is the day that humanity has used up all the resources that the planet can sustain in one calendar year. This year, that day was 20th August.

world overshoot date

This is the earliest its ever been. In 1987, when we were only destroying the planet a little bit, the day fell on a relatively late 19th December, but it has become earlier and earlier as the years have gone on.

What’s caused it? Simply, there are too many humans on this planet chasing too few resources. And we’re not terribly good at managing these resources, meaning that we’re also incredibly wasteful.

Global Footprint Network calculates that it takes – for example – 2.5 Chinas to support China, 7.1 countries the size of Japan to support Japan, and an embarrassing 3.5 Britains to support Britain’s energy and resource needs. Not every country is withdrawn though. Among first world countries that take less than their territory produces are Australia and Canada, but the margins are decreasing all the time.

But it appears that the UK is currently one of the worst ecological debtors in the world, and we need to step up to the plate and address the fact. The country genuinely needs to pull together on this to decrease waste, recycle more and explore ways that we can become less dependent on exhaustible resources.

As a company, we’re always looking at ways of improving our efficiency – you should be doing the same too.


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