Why we are way off target when it comes to Earth Overshoot Day

By Julia Wray | Published: 7-Jul-2022

With Earth Overshoot Day for 2022 looming, what are the consequences of continued ‘overshooting’ and can beauty players do anything to help?

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Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources in a given year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year.

Humanity maintains this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The damning red circle on the calendar is calculated by research organisation Global Footprint Network.

It likewise calculates dates for different countries, working out where the world’s Overshoot Day would land if we all lived life like in the UK, for instance.

This year, the UK’s Overshoot Day was 19 May.

Hall of shame countries in 2022 include Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, Canada, the UAE, the US and Luxembourg, who didn’t even make it into April this year. With an Overshoot Day of 10 February, however, Qatar was by far and away this year’s speediest over-consumer of resources.

The methodology

To pinpoint the date, Global Footprint Network measures the population’s demand for and ecosystems’ supplies of resources and services. These calculations serve as the foundation for calculating Earth Overshoot Day.

On the supply side, says Global Footprint Network, a city, state, or nation’s biocapacity represents its biologically productive land and sea area.

On the demand side, meanwhile, the ecological footprint measures a population’s demand for plant-based food and fibre products, livestock and fish products, timber and other forest products, space for urban infrastructure and forest to absorb its carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.

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