By: Charley Albert
Every year, on the twenty second of April, the people of the world take some time to think about planet Earth with all the resources and beauties it has given to human kind. Earth Day is widely celebrated across the globe. Earth Overshoot Day, however, is less widely recognized, or even known, by the masses.
Earth Overshoot Day has no set date each year. It marks the day in which people use up all of earth’s ecological resources– including fuels, water, plants, and animals– that can be regenerated within the year. People, governments, and businesses go into a sort of debt with the planet after Earth Overshoot Day. Because the resources being used will not be regenerated within the year, society will end the year with less resources than it started with. All of this is because Earth’s gifts are being used so quickly that they are unable to regenerate at the same rate.
The Global Footprint Network calculates Overshoot Day each year. Last year, in 2021, the organization reported, “Earth Overshoot Day fell on July 29. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity has exhausted nature’s budget for the year” (footprintnetwork.org).
The Footprint Network goes on to say that as the planet’s resources are being depleted, carbon dioxide emissions are entering the atmosphere at alarming rates, thus intensifying the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect is necessary for life because it uses the Earth’s gasses to keep the sun’s warmth within the atmosphere, however when the effect is heightened– by carbon dioxide and other emissions– the planet becomes too hot. Thus, the Greenhouse effect causes global warming, an element of climate. The life-threatening consequences of climate change were demonstrated in California’s wildfires and other extreme weather events (nationalgeographic.com).
Earth Overshoot Day is a symbolic day. While on Earth Day, people express gratitude for their planet, Overshoot Day is a warning and reminder that society, especially businesses and corporations, need to change their ways in order to be sustained by the Earth. Resources are being used too quickly and with no remorse for future generations. Overshoot Day is a reminder that Earth’s resources are finite, and that society needs to be more mindful of what resources they use and how quickly they use them.