Thought of the Week: Earth Overshoot Day

This year, we marked Earth Overshoot Day on the 2nd of August.  Earth Overshoot Day is the day by which we consume as much water, fuel, food and natural resources than the Earth can produce in a year. In other words, all of the resources we use from 2nd August to 31st December is on credit from future years/decades/generations. 

Discussion around solving or avoiding the climate crisis has often depended on a technological messiah. We are comfortable relying on the invention of a giant greenhouse gas vacuum or a 0 emissions airplane because it doesn’t question the one thing our social order values most: consumption. To successfully #movethedate, we need to re-evaluate not just what we consume, but how much we consume. Along with switching to hybrid/electric cars, we need to question whether a 2 minute car journey is necessary. Instead of eating everything, all year round, we need to be ok with not eating mangoes in Maine in March. 

Earth Overshoot Day had consistently been creeping earlier and earlier for a while now. And every year, we hear about it. But why are we so comfortable living on climate credit? And what does that say about our consumer behaviour? Perhaps, living in an excessively consumptive society, full of credit cards, mortgages and student loans, has numbed us to the idea of ‘credit’. Perhaps, ‘loaning’ resources from future years and future generations is just too abstract to incite change. 

The amount of change required needs us to take a long hard look at ourselves and our systems. I admit, I fly long-haul far more than most. But I made the switch from eating eating meat to vegetarianism. If you can’t do everything, you can always do something. 
So what can you do to #movethedate? 


One thought on “Thought of the Week: Earth Overshoot Day

  1. The basis for success in a capitalistic system in which we live, is consumption. Something breaks, we throw it away (usually in landfill) and buy another. The latest fashion dictates that we change our wardrobe, the colour of our suite. We are constantly bombarded with advertising sending overt and covert messages to our brains. Do we really need to change a mattress every 8 years? Thousands end up in landfill and very few are broken up for recycling of parts. It really does require a huge and conscious effort of will to resist the pressure and stand out from the crowd. Think about the use of plastics, the over consumption of food (in particular meat and fish), the unnecessary use of aerosols in our houses. These things are killing us as well as our planet! Just so shareholders can make profit and CEOs can earn obscene amounts. I try to resist, but I’m sure I could do more. Most of us could.


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