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On planetary overshoot day, should we be concerned?

On planetary overshoot day, should we be concerned?

**This article has been translated automatically and will be reviewed soon.**

July 29 marked planetary overshoot day.

That means that we have consumed all the resources that the Earth is capable of regenerating in one year. In other words, we made a kind of ecological footprint budget not to be exceeded, and we exceeded it.

Well, obviously, we're going to continue our normal lives as if nothing had happened, so we're going to live on credit. Result: it will take us 1.7 planets this year to cover our collective (over-)footprint.

This environmental credit is not like borrowing money. It's a little more difficult to repay! So instead, the Earth goes wrong and we suffer the consequences.


We might think that the Earth is going to explode, that there are going to be lots of volcanoes erupting everywhere and that the lava is going to decimate us. If only it were that obvious, I think we would do something a lot quicker than that!

But no, climate change is much more insidious. We see the impacts in the form:

  • Magnificent temperature records (like 50° in Western Canada in June 2021)
  • Of the sad melting of ice that can NEVER reform
  • Floods and/or gigabytes of torrential rain (we had some in Quebec and there were major ones in Europe and China just this year)
  • Droughts which disrupt our crops, but more alarming than that, which have an impact on available drinking water (as in the Western United States this summer)
  • Forest fires (like those we saw in Australia or California)

The worst thing is that these disasters don't help us at all in terms of climate! If at least the Earth “helped itself” and tried to regain the upper hand when it saw that it was being disrupted in the same way! But no, forest fires decimate mature trees, and therefore their capacity to store carbon. The fire sends the carbon that the trees had stored into the atmosphere, in addition to causing smog from the smoke. Forest fires are just the worst thing! Land flooding is not much better, because it causes methane emissions (one of the worst greenhouse gases). Same thing for the melting ice which still releases lots of carbon and only worsens the overall situation! Poor planet, really. I would say very poor of us too, but we are still responsible for all that...


Overshoot day is quite recent. We began to completely exhaust the planet's resources in less than a year in 1986. Overshoot day was December 31 (well, we might as well say that we weren't really overshooting).

But after that, the gap widened more and more. In 1995, it was made in November. In 2005, in October. In 2007-2009, in September. In 2010, in August. In 2019, it was also July 29. Last year, we were lucky enough to go back almost ONE MONTH! The date was August 22.

Obviously, it was “thanks” to COVID, to confinement, to the fact that air traffic has decreased considerably and to the shutdown of many industries!

It's cute, but it means that even if we stopped living, we only gained a month, which is a bit of a sad observation...

We could still have taken advantage of it, seized this great opportunity to make a green recovery!!

But no, we completely missed the boat, on a global level. And we came back in force! We have increased our carbon footprint by 6.6% and we have reduced global forest biocapacity by 0.5% (due, among other things, to a peak in deforestation in the Amazon). Cool cool cool.


You know, I'm always hungry for solutions. I have hope in humanity! It must be said that the global objective is still to achieve a balance in 2050!

I read that to achieve this, the ideal would be either to reduce the world population to 2-3 billion inhabitants, (lol, we are approaching 8M !) or to reduce the standard of living to allow the planet to recover. regenerate annually.

The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) also proposes a plan based on this second point. In fact, many environmental organizations agree: We should just stop destroying ecosystems essential to climate regulation. For example :


But what does it mean to protect forests and oceans? How can we protect them on a daily basis?

Well it’s quite simple! A good way to protect forests is to stop buying products that cause deforestation . For example :

  1. Stop or drastically reduce your consumption of meat, particularly beef. This is the most harmful thing about tropical forests, because they are being destroyed to make soy plantations to feed livestock AND to free up land for more animal breeding. Becoming vegetarian or being close enough to vegetarianism is a 2 in 1 to protect the forests!
  2. Avoid buying products made from palm oil.
  3. Choose organic and fair trade cocoa and coffee.
  4. In Canada, it is toilet paper, paper towels and tissues that contribute to deforestation! The best is to favor washable items to replace them (like those from Bateau Bateau!).
  5. Otherwise, it probably has a smaller impact, but it doesn't hurt to encourage paper recycling and choose wood from sustainably managed forests.

Now, some good ways to protect the oceans:

  1. Stop or reduce your consumption of fish and seafood by always purchasing products from sustainable fishing.
  2. Try to reduce CO2 in the air as much as possible! According to a Government of Canada report, each year, a third of the CO2 contained in fossil fuel emissions dissolves in surface ocean waters, forming carbonic acid and increasing ocean acidity. There are many ways to reduce CO2 in the air, but if we just stick to CO2 from fossil fuels, the best is to opt for electric transport, encourage carpooling or public transport.
  3. Reduce your consumption of plastic which could end up in the 7th continent! It seems far from us, when we live inland, far from the coast... but we must understand that plastic takes more or less 200 years (!) to decompose, and that a plastic straw or a Ziploc , it's super lightweight and can fly out of a trash can, garbage truck or boat quite easily (oops!) and accidentally end up in a waterway, then eventually in the sea.
  4. Say no to chemicals! Whether it's washing your laundry, your house, your car, treating your land... it all ends up in waterways and oceans.
  5. When you go to the beach: don’t leave any trash there! And ideally not even in the trash on site (as I said above, it can fly away easily) and if you go diving, don't touch the corals or seabed.


The day of overtaking is here like a bell. We ''sleep on the gas'' every year, so it's there to wake us up and make us aware of the state of the planet.

At least there are solutions. They are there and are accessible to everyone. It is possible and not so complicated to preserve our forests and our oceans. Finally, our hopes for regeneration lie above all in them to push back the date for the next few years!

Or even allows you to learn new actions to do on a daily basis? And to surpass yourself.

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By M.eve

I enjoy questioning and informing myself, and write! It's through this blog that I take the time to speak to you transparently about my business or share what I learn or observe regarding environmental topics that concern us all.


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