Population Connection Statement on Earth Overshoot Day

Written by Marian Starkey | Published: July 27, 2022


July 28 is this year’s Earth Overshoot Day, meaning we’ve already used up our natural resource budget for the whole year.

The date moves each year, usually forward, depending on how much of the planet’s resources humans have consumed since January 1. Of course, the Earth won’t stop regenerating resources on July 28, but everything we consume after that date amounts to us living beyond the planet’s means, resulting in environmental degradation and resource shortage.

Calculated by the Global Footprint Network, Earth Overshoot Day has been arriving earlier in the calendar since we first exceeded the planet’s biocapacity in 1970. That year, people—3.7 billion of us at that time—were using just over what the planet could renew in a year. Now, with more than twice as many people as in 1970, poised to pass 8 billion in November, we are using natural resources 1.75 times faster than they can regenerate, meaning we would need almost two planets to meet our demand without destroying nature.

While our collective ecological footprint has grown to an unsustainable level over the past half-century, partially due to population growth, so have our individual footprints. Overconsumption is a critical problem that needs to be tackled, and that responsibility falls solely on the shoulders of the world’s wealthiest people.

Population Connection President & CEO John Seager says:

“If we are to survive as a species and not wipe out hundreds of thousands of other species, we have no choice but to switch to renewable energy, eat lower on the food chain, and make individual consumption choices with the Earth in mind.

But we also need to expand access to voluntary contraceptive education and services to everyone. There are currently 218 million women in low- and middle-income countries who have an unmet need for modern contraception. The United States currently invests just over $600 million in international family planning, but our “fair share” would be $1.74 billion. Increasing funding for reproductive health and rights is key to improving lives and protecting the environment.”

According to the Global Footprint Network, if every other family had one fewer child than expected, and motherhood was delayed by an average of 2 years, our 2050 population would be 7.7 billion—smaller than today’s. This would result in Earth Overshoot Day being pushed back by 49 days, making it the second most powerful solution after decarbonizing our economies

Stabilizing our population will help #MoveTheDate and is an essential part of ending overshoot.


Contact Marian Starkey: mstarkey@popconnect.org | 202-974-7735