Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that same year.
(Planet’s Biocapacity / Humanity’s Ecological Footprint) x 365 = Earth Overshoot Day.
And that date has moved earlier and earlier in the year over the past few decades due to deforestation, global warming, and industrial-scale pollution.
This news is rather gloomy, so let's focus on what we can do about it!
There are many things you can do to help move this date backwards and give Earth a chance to replenish natural resources. Here are a few.
1. Plant a tree.
When you plant trees, you are helping to clean air, filter water, and create a foundation for ecological health. As a tree matures, it can consume 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year as it turns that CO2 into parts of itself and into land where it belongs. It also releases enough oxygen to supply your needs for two years. These two effects help to give the earth a healthier climate. Read more about how planting trees can reduce your carbon footprint, or donate as little as $1, one tree, today.
2. Skip bottled water.
Bottling water is an incredible waste of our planet’s limited resources. It takes 3 liters of water to bottle just one! Use a water filter and get a reusable bottle to fill with tap water.
3. Buy a coffee tumbler.
According to Fast Company, 3 billion of the 200 billion cups Americans throw away each year are coffee cups. Make your morning coffee habit eco-friendlier by purchasing a coffee tumbler. Many coffee shops will give you a discount if you do so.
4. Bring your own grocery bags.
Use a reusable bag for your groceries to avoid the waste from plastic and paper bags. Plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, and neither paper nor compostable bags are much better because they still create waste. Just make sure to actually use the bag! Always keep an empty one in your purse or car.
5. Go to the library or use an online reading app.
According to Eco-Libris, over 30 million trees are cut down annually to produce the paper that makes books in the United States alone. Don't stop reading! But do go to the library instead for your books and magazines – it’s free! You could also download an online reading app like Scribd or Audible.
6. Donate to environmental organizations.
Nonprofit organizations like One Tree Planted have the resources to plant thousands of trees, petition governments for pro-nature policies, clean up hazardous waste, and further education about the many ways to help our planet breathe again.
At One Tree Planted, a small donation of $20 can help plant 20 trees in a region that needs it most while also supporting social, biodiversity, food, and water access efforts.
7. Learn more, and tell others.
Whenever "carbon footprint" is mentioned, the phrase can invoke a variety of responses. Ultimately it is important for people to educate themselves on what carbon footprint means and how it could impact them or others. There are some fascinating documentaries available that look at the subject from several different angles.
And remember, our planet is AMAZING! Don't ever give up fighting for what you know is right.