Updated: Jul 7, 2021
Set your alarms for the planet’s annual wakeup call: Earth Overshoot Day. Earth Overshoot Day is calculated by determining the day of each year by which humanity has depleted the amount of ecological resources that Earth can replenish in a year. This year, Earth Overshoot Day falls on August 22. Last year, it was July 29.
What makes this day so frightening is that it shows just how much damage we are doing to the Earth, whether intentionally or not. Until 2020, Overshoot Day kept creeping up sooner, reflecting our tendency to take more and more from the environment without replacing it. This year, the date could just as easily have continued its earlier trajectory, but due to massive lifestyle changes brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic, this milestone fell almost a month later this year than in 2019.
Sure, this is “good news,” but as the Earth Overshoot Day website concedes, “true sustainability that allows all to thrive on Earth can only be achieved by design, not disaster.”
While pre-pandemic levels of economic activity provided jobs and income for billions in the United States and abroad, “normal life” had its own harsh environmental consequences. With scientists warning we must make significant improvements to reduce environmental degradation by 2030 - or face dire ecological consequences - the time is now for a great transition to a long-term, truly sustainable mindset.
The Seaside Sustainability blog has several resources on a more sustainable future. Please visit our blog regularly to keep up with our new entries on environmental hot topics!