The Overshoot Day

The Overshoot Day is a date symbolically representing the day when all the resources produced by the earth in a year terminate. It changes from year to year and not surprisingly it is always earlier and earlier in the year. 

This is at least what usually happened in the past. Indeed, except for some rare examples, the overshoot day tends to go backward in time. 


Other examples are the years: 2008, 2009 and 2012. Why exactly these years? What do they have in common? Are they peculiar? Or is it just haphazardness?

There is something they have in common, the millennials know well what happened in those times. They all represent periods of economic crisis. Usually, financial crisis are characterized by the plummeting of the expenses and consumptions afforded by families. This impacts directly on industrial, agricultural and farming companies which loose huge market slices and therefore decide to reduce their productions.

It is exactly the fall in the levels of production and consumptions that allowed the Overshoot day to be postponed. It is estimated that by 2050 the human consumption will overwhelm the Earth resources production, this will imply that more or less in 2050 the Overshoot day will happen on the 1stof January, and soon we will start using the resources of the next year. In 2020 we were able to gain 24 days with respect to last year, it is the greatest gain we had since we start counting these dates in 1970. This was only possible because more than half of the world population has been put under lockdown. We have been forced not to use any means of transport, not to travel, to forget all the leisure expenditures. We cut some of the major expenses and the environment thanked us for this.

Am I saying we should live always under lockdown? Am I stating to say goodbye to travel and toruism? 

Obviously, the problem is consumerism, but we cannot ask the world population to change their habits suddenly. As Aristoteles wrote in his first book on politics (Τὰ πολιτικὰ I) human beings are “zoon politikon”, literally translated as “Political animal” and understood today as social animal. We need other individuals, we need social life and we need to move and travel for it. Therefore, the answer cannot be the imposition of limits upon the human nature.

In my opinion, the answer, as always is for the greatest problems affecting humanity, is EDUCATION. Today there are many solutions to reduce the impact of men on the environment. One above all are the circular and green economy. But as I already said we cannot ask the world to change completely from one day to another. Only through education we can achieve a smooth transition from our economic system to a more sustainable one. We need to talk about environment, we need to write about the environment and these are all forms of fight, for the future. 

The best thing one can do on his/her own it is not recycling (of course keep doing it), the best thing is to talk about the environment to friends and peers. Maybe, one of the people you talk to will become or is already someone in a decisional position. They will then prefer to invest on green projects rather than on other form of investment. Education is our best arm to fight climate change and reduce the human impact. 

So, keep recycling, behave correctly and inform the others. 

Talk, Talk, Talk about environment. Fighting this battle is much easier than you think, it is nearly effortless, you just need to spread the word.  

For more data and information about the Earth Overshoot day and each country Overshoot day (which is the overshoot day if all the world consumed as the people of that country) visit