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What is Earth Overshoot Day?

This year, Earth Overshoot Day falls on July 29th. It marks the date when the world's demand for resources (e.g. land, food, energy and more) outnumbers the amount of resources our planet has to give. And, it’s getting earlier and earlier every year—last year it was August 22nd! That’s why we’re on a mission to help #movethedate, and give back to Mother Earth more than we take. Are you in?

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Why July 29th?

This date is calculated by evaluating changes in carbon emissions, forest biocapacity and other factors that could impact Earth’s biocapacity. This year, the main drivers were the carbon footprint (increased 6.6%) and a decrease in global forest biocapacity (reduced 0.5%). The formula is:

(Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day

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What is ‘biocapacity’?

The capacity of ecosystems to produce useful biological materials and to absorb waste materials generated by humans. (Source: WWF)

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What is an ‘Ecological Footprint’?

The impact of human activities measured in terms of the area of biologically productive land and water required to produce the goods consumed and to assimilate the wastes generated.

‘Ecological Footprint’ refers to a continuous demand (e.g. human consumption) while ‘biocapacity’ refers to a continuous supply (e.g. what the Earth gives us in order to support human demand). A biocapacity deficit happens when the Footprint of a population exceeds the biocapacity of the area available to that population—leading us to overshoot.

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Want to know what your Ecological Footprint is?

Find out your personal Overshoot Day and how many planets we’d need if everybody lived like you—take the quiz.

How you can help #movethedate 

Small changes can make a big impact. Here’s a few tips to lower your carbon footprint:

1. Choose plant-based meals more regularly
Did you know it takes 14x as much land to produce 1 ton of beef as it takes to produce 1 ton of grain? If we cut global meat consumption by 50% and used plants instead, we could move Overshoot Day back by 17 days.

2. Travel responsibly
Choose active transport more often such as cycling, walking, skateboarding or rollerblading to reduce your carbon footprint. Where you can’t, choose public transport, carpooling or try a car-sharing initiative like ZipCar. Reducing the carbon component of humanity’s Ecological Footprint by 50% would move the date of Overshoot Day back by 93 days, or about three months.

3. Tackle food waste
About one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted. Try a free sharing app like Olio to reduce food waste and help your neighbors at the click of a button. If we cut food waste in half worldwide, we would move Overshoot Day back by 13 days.

4. Reevaluate your wardrobe
Clothing makes up 3% of the global Ecological Footprint. Pick versatile pieces that are made to last by choosing materials science innovations like PPRMINT™ treated fabrics that save on water, energy and time. Or try one of our FLWRDWN™ jackets that use wildflowers and a biopolymer instead of animal feathers. Reuse and repair for as long as you can, and when you no longer love them—gift, trade, give to charity or resell.

5. Challenge city leaders and organizations to #movethedate
Write to your local government official, favorite brands and organizations using a simple template like this to encourage them to join the movement to #movethedate.

6. Save, invest and spend responsibly
What you do with your money every day makes a difference. Choose a sustainable bank account like Triodos who only finance companies that focus on people, the environment or culture. Move your pension into responsible investments e.g. through Nest, who ensure their investments prioritize people and the planet.

7. Shop to support
Use your purchasing power for good. From offsetting your summer road trip to protecting sea turtles in Costa Rica, support grassroots NGOs fighting to preserve biodiversity and protect the future of our planet.