July 25, 2018

Earth Overshoot Day

We are approaching the day of the year at which human consumption exceeds the capacity of nature to regenerate, a sad moment dubbed "Earth Overshoot Day". Unsurprisingly, this day has been coming sooner and sooner since the 1970s.

The 70s was the decade that the globe moved from a sustainable level of consumption into overshoot. From that point on we have been drawing our resources from our Bank of Nature account, which is getting drawn down faster than it can be replenished. 

When is your country's Earth Overshoot Day? It is an embarrassing May 8 for Canada,
much sooner than the global average of August 1st. 

Find out more about your country here.

Our resource account is also getting drawn down faster and faster each year.

Past Earth Overshoot Dates

1970 - December 29

1980 - November 3

1990 - October 11

2000 - September 23

2010 - August 8

2018 - August 1

Since the 1970s we have gone from one planet living to 1.7 planet living. While this issue unfolds right before our eyes, we choose to not to see. Not only that, the precipice that we will plunge over is just ahead, and some world "leaders" are stepping on the gas pedal. 

We should fight this dangerous trend with all our might. Things will not change until we do. Our passivity is their advantage.

What is your personal Earth Overshoot Day? Find out by clicking on this image.

Regardless of how often we are told to keep calm, and carry on with our recreational shopping, driving, flying, meat eating, and producing waste like there is no tomorrow, we will not escape the repercussions of degrading our planet. 


There are many doable right now solutions that could be implemented personally, at the community level, nationally, and globally. For now, the majority of high consuming nations and their citizens have chosen to ignore them. 

But how long can that continue before the people choose to see, decide to do something about it, and change the way we do things? Our planet has limits that can not be ignored forever.

That doesn't mean we are powerless - we can do a lot as individuals.

  • become politically active: make phone calls, write letters, texts, tweets and emails, vote, run for office, support a rational, pro-environment candidate that thinks for themselves and wants to serve the people and the planet.
  • the most rational and straightforward personal action would be to simplify a multi-planet lifestyle to the point of single-planet living. A challenge, to be sure, but entirely doable, not to mention, necessary if we are to survive.
  • support your local economy
  • eat a plant based diet, or if you can't give up meat, eat less of it (vegetarian foods are just as tasty, satisfying, and nutritious).
  • drive, fly, and travel less often.
  • use public transportation.
  • limit the use of plastic.
  • talk to others about Earth Overshoot Day.
  • share what you are doing to respond to a clear and present danger to human survival.
  • reduce desires and unrealistically high expectations
  • find joy in simplicity
  • plant a garden

I calculated the Overshoot Day for Linda and I (see image above), and came up with March 14, 2019. The Global Footprint Network told me: 

"Hurray! If everyone lived like you, there would be no Overshoot Day! We would only need 0.8 Earths." 

I dearly hope that is accurate. Even if it is, there is always more that we can do to reduce our impact on the Earth and all its inhabitants. 

I envision a time when there is no Overshoot Day, like not so long ago in the 70s. I believe it can be done. But will we do it in time? Start now, and avoid the rush.


  1. It is scary to see where we are going. Depressing too. Yes, we could turn this around, but will we? I like doing many of the things on the list. I do speak to people and politicians. They are skilled and sophisticated at silencing me. It gets lonely. But I always come back. I keep showing up. I keep doing what I do in spite of virtually no one I know living anywhere close to how I live. But I press on.

    1. Terri,

      Thank you for always showing up. Persistence and patience are required in tackling the monumental challenges facing humanity. Perhaps a touch of righteous anger as well.

      In these times it is great to not be living like most people live. Potentially lonely, but that is a perhaps a necessary price to be paid for not being an accomplice in the destruction of the planet. I am glad that people like us can connect in places like this, and support one another in our lifestyle decisions.

  2. Anonymous7/26/2018

    Although these statistics seem dire, I also see reason for hope. Two years ago, nobody - I mean NOBODY - in my area carried reusable grocery bags. Now, I see more and more people everyday carrying and using them. I see more people at our local farmers' market and many more people in our local hardware store. Baby steps? Maybe, but steps nonetheless. People are becoming more aware of what they personally can do, and they're actually doing it! I truly believe that learning how to conserve our earth's resources and doing whatever we can, no matter how seemingly small, can and will make a difference. I have always line-dried my clothes, and for years there were only two other women in my neighborhood who did the same. Now, suddenly, I have begun seeing clotheslines! So there is hope and I am trying to become, as Gandhi said, the change I want to see in the world. We can do this! Sophie

    1. Sophie,

      It is important to share the good news, because the bad news is SO bad. Thank you for a bit of optimism. We certainly can do this thing. Humans have done amazing things over the course of history - now is the time for more of that. It is already bringing us together, and together we can do anything.

  3. I'm still here and reading every day. Like Terri I also feel depressed about what is happening. However I know I try to live very lightly. I'm also every day learning new practical skills and listening to practical podcasts by sensible minded folk. I personally think we're not going to be able to turn things around completely and that we're in a slow free fall. That sounds bad and I guess it is, but I also see hope blooming from this. Like Sophie, all of a sudden everyone in our new country town is using cloth bags. Some of our supermarket chains no longer offer plastic bags at all. People are starting to awaken and demand better. Yes this should've been done a long time ago, but it's happening now. Some folk will always be blind or greedy ... Or both. They're the ones that will ultimately lose though. Keep fighting the good fight Gregg. There's loads of us out here who are right alongside you.

    1. Karen,

      When push comes to shove (and it looks like it will) humanity is able to make large behavioural changes in order to adapt. If only we could use our foresight and respond BEFORE the poop hits the propeller.

      I think we are already in a new awakening. It is happening, and it is comforting to know there are others out there, perhaps in numbers greater than we know. The blind and greedy can only stifle this awakening for so long before it reaches critical mass and becomes unstoppable. It feels like we could reach this point at any time. Exciting, really.

  4. Hi, I've found your blog via All the Blue Day. It is scary. My overshoot day is worse than my global footprint but I think I may have overestimated things I didn't know like house size, and I can definitely improve the amount of local food I buy, in fact it's something I'm working on. Positive thinking...

    1. Hi Hazel, You are in a really good place, glad you found Gregg and Linda's blog here. One thing I've seen over the years reading here and commenting is that everyone is accepted and we're all doing the best we can to minimize our footprint. Sometimes it is very slow change, other times we can make larger changes faster. Everyone here gets encouragement for where they are on the path to living a more simple life. This blog is a treasure trove and it's writers are some of the most sincere people ever. They've taught me so much so have the people who comment here. Terri

    2. Hazel,

      We love Jo's blog, and are happy you made your way from there over to us. About the footprint calculator - it is pretty scary how quickly things we take for granted add up to more than the Earth can replace over the course of a year.

      You are brave for checking it our - it is not something one can un-see. I do wonder how accurate it is, but either way, it is one of the only ways I know of that helps you measure your potential impact on the planet. Positive thinking is a must - so much better than the alternatives.


      We appreciate your enthusiasm for what we are all trying to do here. Mutual support is very, very important... and largely gone in mainstream society. Mostly because those in charge are actively trying to destroy it in order to keep us divided and weak. We can not let them continue to do this.

      "Come together, right now..." We are all crewmates on spaceship Earth. One planet. One crew.


Comments are moderated to eliminate spam. We are proudly a no buying, no selling website.

We love reading all comments, and respond when time permits.