Yesterday was 29th July 2021. For those who don’t know, it was Earth Overshoot day.
What is Earth Overshoot day?
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 year. In 2020, it fell on 22nd August, meaning this year was almost an entire month earlier, and in fact has been the earliest it has ever been recorded.
Next year could be even earlier.
Overshooting itself means to go ‘too far’, and Earth Overshoot day is a blunt reminder that we are consistently depleting our natural capital since globally, humanity is currently using natural resources 1.75x faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. That’s equivalent to using 1.75 Earths this year. We don’t however have 1.75 Earths, we have one, and living beyond our means will result in us eventually exhausting all resources until there’s nothing left. A sobering thought.
The UK alone uses 2.25 Earths, being 7th highest on the list.
To determine the date of Earth Overshoot Day, Global Footprint Network calculates the number of days that Earth’s biocapacity can provide for humanity’s Ecological Footprint. This includes looking at things such as CO2 emissions, greenhouse gases, climate change, non recyclable waste and deforestation among other planet damaging factors.
Globally we’re slowly increasing our attention towards renewable energy since it is a source of energy that doesn’t take from the planet, and by being powered by wind and water etc works as an unlimited energy supply. One of the easiest and closest to spot examples of this is solar powered panels which take sunlight and turn it into electricity to light your home. Another one is wind turbines, which despite their large and intimidating stature, convert wind power into energy we can use to power whole towns and cities.
A further way to cut back and not overshoot is through CO2 emissions. If possible, instead of driving to work, try to walk, or cycle, or if it's far, use public transport. During the first half of 2020, global CO2 emissions dropped dramatically due to the temporary closure of factories and buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic. This however rose in the second half once multiple countries began to reopen and lift lockdowns, exacerbated this year with people going out and about to make up for lost time. Now, a lot more people are working from home, but if you are returning to the office, try to look at ways you can travel there without racking up excess carbon emissions.
Our forests and waters are also taking a massive hit due to deforestation and intensive food systems, with oceans being filled with plastic that is damaging the ecosystems, and less and less trees regulating our climate and absorbing carbon emissions.
We can combat this by generating and using recyclable or biodegradable packaging so long lasting plastic won't end up in the ocean, and making sure we recycle cardboard and paper properly to avoid more trees being cut down. If you ever need motivation to use less plastic, researchers have discovered that many species of fish, including the ones humans eat, are ingesting small bits of plastic, which eventually end up being digested by us. Not only are we harming the planet, but we’re harming ourselves too.
As a brand, we’ve made all of our packaging plastic free, recyclable. Our Bites, which look like they are in plastic, are actually also in biodegradable packaging as the bag is made of cellulose. This means less landfill waste that needs to be burned up to dispose of it, resulting in a reduction of greenhouse gases.
We also get our cashews straight from the source in Tanzania, and transport them directly to the UK to avoid creating excessive CO2 emissions from shipping them to Asia for mass processing.
We’re also trying to become carbon neutral, and then eventually carbon negative through offsetting our carbon, because we don’t want to damage our planet just to make a profit.
These might seem like insignificant steps in the grand scheme of things, however if more companies and individuals begun using planet-friendly packaging and less transportation, as a collective we’d cause less damage to our one planet.
There’s a range of ways to combat this as seen on the Earth Overshoot Day website called ‘100 Days of Possibility’, where they demonstrate how we can use existing technology to displace business-as-usual practices which we can no longer afford to do.
Together, let's work towards saving our planet, instead of destroying it.