Earth Overshoot Day 2023: We Are Running Out of Time | FAQ answered with Dr. Schillebeeckx

Little Planet Image Of Beautiful Plateau Lake

It’s that time of the year again…

The moment we are running out of time.

2023’s Earth Overshoot Day falls on August 2, a few days later than 2022. That’s good! But we are not there yet.

We, individuals and companies, can still #movethedate. But, to move the date, we need to understand what Overshoot Day is about and why it’s important.

Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions, courtesy of Professor Simon Schillebeeckx.

What is Overshoot Day?

Earth Overshoot Day is the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what the Earth can regenerate in that year. 

In 2023, Earth Overshoot Day falls on August 2. This means that we have already used up the amount of resources that can renew in one year, and we are now living off of our ecological credit.


Why is Overshoot Day a Problem?

We are depleting our natural resources and contributing to climate change. If we continue on this path, we will eventually reach a point where we can no longer meet our basic needs.


What Can We Do To Move Earth Overshoot Day?

If we don’t do anything, the day will keep moving forward which means the planet becomes more and more uninhabitable. So our goal has to be to push it backward in time, until at least New Year’s day.

There are a number of things that we can do to move Earth Overshoot Day back. We can reduce our consumption of resources, switch to renewable energy sources, and protect our forests and oceans. We can also make changes to our lifestyles, such as eating less meat, driving less, and recycling more. Simple changes could significantly delay Earth Overshoot Day. 


For example:

  • Increasing the use of low-carbon electricity sources from 39% to 75% would delay it by 26 days. 
  • Halving food waste would gain an additional 13 days
  • Tree intercropping would earn an extra 2.1 days

What factors affect Earth Overshoot Day?

There are four key factors that affect Earth Overshoot Day:

  1. How much and what we consume
  2. How efficiently products and services are created
  3. How many of us there are
  4. How much nature’s ecosystems are able to produce.

Because nobody wants to advocate population control or worse, the three levers we can influence are our consumption, our technology to increase efficiency and reduce environmental damage associated with production and supporting the restoration of Nature.

These are three essential areas of sustainability. At Handprint, we focus primarily on nature restoration. If you want to find out what you can do, don’t hesitate to reach out.