Climate Action

Earth Overshoot Day: What it is and why it keeps arriving earlier

28 July marks this year’s Earth Overshoot Day.

28 July marks this year’s Earth Overshoot Day. Image: Unsplash/NASA

Felix Richter
Data Journalist, Statista
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Climate Indicators

  • Earth Overshoot Day is the day that humanity’s demand for ecological resources exceeds the resources Earth can regenerate within that year.
  • 28 July marks Earth Overshoot Day for 2022 - a big shift compared to 30 December in 1970.
  • What's more, it is arriving earlier and earlier each year.
  • Decisive global action must be taken to prepare for the resource constraints of climate change, says an expert.

July 28 marks this year’s (2022) Earth Overshoot Day, the day that humanity’s demand for ecological resources exceeds the resources Earth can regenerate within that year.

Over the decades, the ecological and carbon footprint of humans has gradually increased, all while Earth’s biocapacity, i.e. its ability to regenerate resources has diminished significantly. That has led to Earth Overshoot Day arriving earlier and earlier, moving from December 30 in 1970 to July 28 this year. Only in the pandemic year of 2020 did it move back to August 22, before moving forward to 2019's date - July 29 - again in 2021.

“There is no benefit in waiting to take action,” Global Footprint Network CEO Laurel Hanscom said in a statement in 2021. “The pandemic has demonstrated that societies can shift rapidly in the face of disaster. But being caught unprepared brought great economic and human cost. When it comes to our predictable future of climate change and resource constraints, individuals, institutions and governments who prepare themselves will fare better. Global consensus is not a prerequisite to recognizing one’s own risk exposure, so let’s take decisive action now, wherever we are,” she added.

The concept of Earth Overshoot Day was first conceived by Andrew Simms of the UK think tank New Economics Foundation, which partnered with Global Footprint Network in 2006 to launch the first global Earth Overshoot Day campaign. WWF, the world’s largest conservation organization, has participated in Earth Overshoot Day since 2007. To find out more about the calculations behind Earth Overshoot Day, please click here.

This chart shows the historical dates of Earth Overshoot Day from 1970 to 2022.
Earth Overshoot Day arrives earlier every year. Image: Statista
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Climate ActionNature and Biodiversity
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