Humans are consuming more of Earth’s resources than can be replenished in a given year, that is, we are using resources that should be available in the future to support our present mode of living. Earth Overshoot Day marks the date each year that our demand on the Earth’s resources exceeds what can be regenerated during that same year. It is calculated by the Global Footprint Network, and in 2019 the date was July 29th, the earliest date ever. While the date for 2020 has not yet been calculated, it is a reasonable bet that the date this year will be even earlier than last, given the ongoing growth in the human population and our failure to reign in the demand for resource consumption.
Continuing to borrow from the future to maintain the present is, of course, not sustainable. If we continue to outstrip the resources that the Earth is able to generate, future generations will pay a steep price.
The Global Footprint Network has been able to compile data on resource use going back to 1961. The first year that we overshot Earth’s resources was 1970, when the overshoot date was December 29th, and we have been going downhill ever since. 2018 was the first year that the date slid into July.
The Earth Overshoot Day website does offer a set of solutions for moving the date back, which can be explored on their website at https://www.overshootday.org/solutions/.