published on 29 July 2021 in earth

Overshoot day reached

Every day the Earth offers us countless resources, such as food, timber, CO2 absorption by forests and oceans, fibre, space to live. Today, July 29, mankind has reached the day when the demand for resources and services exceeds what the Earth can renew during this year. This day is called Overshoot Day, the day on which the Earth’s resources begin to be overexploited, marking the moment when mankind officially enters into debt with nature. Every year, the Global Footprint Network, an international association for sustainability that deals with environmental accounting, together with the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), calculates both globally and by country, the Overshoot Day.

Overshoot Day, therefore, indicates the day on which consumption (global or national) exceeds the Planet’s capacity to produce those same resources: thus, until the end of the year, we will continue to overexploit land, forests, energy and fish reserves. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Overshoot Day was put back by no less than 3 weeks as compared to 2019, and fell on 22 August. This year we are back to exactly the same levels as 2019, the year when the overshoot day set a record, because never before had it occurred so early.

Given how much we consume, we would need 1.7 Planets to meet our needs. However, there are huge disparities between countries: Italy, for example, is near the top of the list of the wasteful nations, since it reached its Overshoot Day on 13 May 2021. There are far more wasteful countries, such as the United States (14 March), Australia (22 March), South Korea (5 April), and Russia (17 April). If we consider Central and South America, on the other hand, we find nations that manage to make do with the Earth’s resources for almost the entire year: Colombia (2 November), Cuba (17 November), Nicaragua (2 December), and Ecuador (7 December). Click here, to download the Country Overshoot Days.

Such a glaring difference is evidence of the huge economic disparities that divide the world. The climate change and environmental crisis, however, is already overwhelming us all, no matter how much we helped to cause it. The 100 Days of Possibility campaign was launched on July 29, one hundred days before “the summit that has been considered the last chance for global action against climate change”: the COP 26 scheduled in Glasgow. Every day the campaign website will present a solution to postpone the date of Overshoot Day, reverse overexploitation and support regeneration of the biosphere.

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