Written by Ali Fisher
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date that human demands on planetary resources exceed what the planet is able to regenerate in a year.
In 2018, the global date of Earth Overshoot Day was 1st August. That’s equivalent to us humans using the resources of 1.7 earths in a year. We have been in ‘overshoot’ since the early 1970s (so that’s all of my life-time!). Last year, the UK’s Overshoot Day was 8th May.
Check out http://www.overshootday.org to calculate your personal Overshoot Day. Be warned you might not like what it tells you but it offers great insights into what is impacting your personal Overshoot Day and changes you can make.
So what can we do to #MoveTheDate in 2019 and stop taking more than our planet has to offer?
If we swap 50% of our driving miles for public transport, walking and cycling, Earth Overshoot Day could move back 12 daysi. Check out http://www.surreycc.gov.uk for inspiration for local cycling routes or if you need an added incentive to switch up your walking, the average Brit can burn between 80 and a 100 calories per mile walkedii.
Surrey is already leading the way on food recycling as the English local authority with the highest number of residents recycling food waste. Go Surrey!
If we can halve our carbon emissions, we can move Earth Overshoot Day back by a whopping 3 monthsiii.
Given the biggest global source of greenhouse gas emissions is electricity and heat productioniv, Burpham residents can help by reducing energy usage, whether it’s by switching to LED bulbs which use 80% less electricityv or clothes washing at cooler temps.
If we can reduce our food footprint through a more plant-based diet and cutting food waste, we can move Earth Overshoot Day back by 38 daysvi. Surrey is already leading the way on food recycling as the English local authority with the highest number of residents recycling food wastevii. Go Surrey! And an impressive one third of the UK say they have reduced the amount of meat they eat or taken it out of their diet altogetherviii.
i, iii, vi, ix www.overshootday.org ii Wendy Bumgardner / Very Well Fit (2019) How many calories does walking burn per mile? www.verywellfit.com/walking-calories-burned-by-miles-3887154 (6 March 2019) BBC News (2010) Statistics reveal Britain’s ‘Mr and Mrs Average’ www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11534042 (6 March 2019) iv United States Environmental Protection Agency (no date) Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/global-greenhouse-gas-emissions-data (6 March 2019) v The Telegraph (2017) Should businesses see the light with LEDs? www.telegraph.co.uk/business/energy-efficiency/why-leds-are-good-for-businesses/ (6 March 2019) vii Waverley Borough Council (2018) Surrey top of the league for food waste recycling www.waverley.gov.uk/news/article/367/surrey_top_of_the_league_for_food_waste_recycling (6 March 2019) viii Rebecca Smithers / The Guardian (2018) Third of Britons have stopped or reduced eating meat – report www.theguardian.com/business/2018/nov/01/third-of-britons-have-stopped-or-reduced-meat-eating-vegan-vegetarian-report (6 March 2019)