Earth Overshoot Day was on August 2nd this year. It would take 0.05 fewer earths to replenish the resources we have used this year compared to last year.

We look back on last year’s Earth Overshoot Day to see how the world is measuring up.
August 16, 2023

Let’s recap

Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by dividing the earth’s biocapacity by humanity’s ecological footprint and then multiplying by 365. Whilst carbon currently contributes to a big proportion of humanity’s ecological footprint (60%)[i], it is not the only factor considered. Ecological footprint calculates the use of productive surface areas. This is cropland, grazing land, fishing grounds, built-up land, and forest, as well as carbon demand on land. 

Last year, Earth Overshoot Day fell on the 28th of July. This year it fell on the 2nd of August, meaning that our consumption has been just fractionally slower than last year. This is not a win. Humanity still uses 70% more resources than the planet’s ecosystems can replenish.[ii] Last year it would have taken 1.75 earths to replenish the resources that we used that year; this year, it would take 1.7 earths.[iii]


                                                                                                            Figure 1: Graph comparing Earth Overshoot Days

                                                                                                             Source: Earth Overshoot Day


Country to country: let’s compare


                                                                                          Figure 2: Country overshoot days 2023

                                                                                        Source: Earth Overshoot Day


As previously mentioned, countries have different overshoot days, and not all countries have one. Individual country overshoot days are calculated as if everyone in the world lived like that country. This means that a country’s overshoot day does not necessarily reflect the extent to which that country is in ecological deficit or reserve based on its own resources.


                                                                   Figure 3: Biocapacity map

                                                                 Source: The Global Footprint Network


For example, French Guiana has the greatest biocapacity reserve of 4,900%.[iv] However, French Guiana still has an overshoot day of the 4th of November.[v] Additionally, Qatar has the earliest overshoot day on the 10th of February[vi], and whilst it is in an ecological deficit of -1,100%, this deficit is not as bad as nine other countries: Barbados, Kiribati, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Israel, St Kitts and Nevis, Réunion, Singapore, and Nauru.[vii] Jamaica does have an overshoot day, but it is the latest, on the 20th of December[viii], and yet it has a biocapacity deficit of -270%, whereas Ecuador has a biocapacity reserve and Indonesia’s deficit is smaller.[ix]



Last year, we spoke about how the Global Footprint Network provides feasible solutions in the areas of planet, cities, energy, food, and population to help move Earth Overshoot Day later and later. It is also possible to see where in the world these solutions are taking place through the #MoveTheDate Solutions Map.[x]  Anyone can add solutions occurring to the map.


                                                                  Figure 4: #MoveTheDate Solutions Map

                                                                  Source: Earth Overshoot Day


The colours and symbols correspond to the five key solutions areas:

·         Blue = Nature

·         Yellow = Cities

·         Orange = Energy

·         Green = Food

·         Pink = Population


As you can see from the map, city solutions and projects are dominating in number, followed by energy solutions. However, the energy solutions are concentrated within Western Europe. Food solutions, on the other hand, are spread widely across the globe. Nature solutions are dispersed across the world, outside of the Americas, but are small in number. The only two population solutions registered are in Guyana and Finland.


[i] Earth Overshoot Day- This Year’s Earth Overshoot Day Fell on August 2

[ii] Global Footprint Network- Country Work

[iii] Earth Overshoot Day- Past Earth Overshoot Days

[iv] Global Footprint Network- Country Work

[v] Earth Overshoot Day- When Would Earth Overshoot Day Land if the World’s Population Lived Like…

[vi] Ibid

[vii] Global Footprint Network- Country Work

[viii] Earth Overshoot Day- When Would Earth Overshoot Day Land if the World’s Population Lived Like…

[ix] Global Footprint Network- Country Work

[x] Earth Overshoot Day- #MoveTheDate Solutions Map

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Gemma Drake
Research Analyst

Gemma recently graduated with a degree in International Development. She is currently studying for an MSc in Sustainable Urbanism, which examines urban planning and urban design through a sustainability lens. “I’m passionate about addressing sustainability challenges in a holistic and pragmatic way. Zero Carbon Academy's diverse range of services targets many of the areas that need support if we are to transition to a liveable future. I’m excited to see the impact that the Academy makes.”

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