Let’s end overshoot to create a sustainable world

On August 8, 2016, we will have used as much from nature as our planet can renew in the whole year. We use more ecological resources and services than nature can regenerate through overfishing, overharvesting forests and emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than forests can sequester. The consequences of this “overshoot” include shrinking biodiversity, collapsed fisheries, eroded topsoil and climate change.

Here’s the good news: The world is on the cusp of positive change. Last December, the Paris Climate Agreement was signed by 195 nations and the European Union. Last September, the United Nations launched global goals to achieve humanity’s collective dream—sustainable development.

If there ever was a time to roll up our sleeves and take action…that time is now. Ahead of Earth Overshoot Day, let’s act to reverse the trend of overshooting our planet’s resources and producing more carbon than nature can absorb.

Here’s our invitation to you: Join us and take part in our action campaign to pledge for the planet. Help create a future where planet and people thrive. Use your voice on social media to spread the word that we can start now to build a world that our children’s children will want to live in.

We will be regularly introducing new action items for you to consider — choose the ones that resonate with you the most and that you’ll be excited telling your friends about. Keep an eye on our newsletter and Facebook Event community for details!

Check out our action items and pledge today to help create a future where people and planet thrive!

Pledge 1: Food

Young group of friends preparing vegetable meal and making fun.

Pledge 2: Coming soon


2016 Partners

Creating a Sustainable World

Click to explore projects to reduce the Ecological Footprint to create a future where people and planet thrive.


Explore Solutions

Living well and within the means of nature is not out of our reach. We see the greatest opportunities for improving sustainability in four areas: cities, energy, food and population.


food-solution-291How we meet one of our most basic need–food–is a powerful way to influence sustainability. Sourcing food locally and avoiding highly processed foods can lower the Ecological Footprint. Emphasizing plant-based diets and reducing animal protein can also have a major impact. Learn More


energy-solution-291A large part of the Ecological Footprint is driven by fossil fuel use. Cities, states and nations can set policies to promote renewable energy adoption in a number of ways, including tax rebates, cap-and-trade-systems, subsidies, and even carpool lane privileges. Learn More


city-solution-291Eighty percent of the world population is expected to live in cities by 2050. Consequently, city planning and urban development strategies are instrumental to balancing the supply of natural capital and population’s demand. Examples include energy-efficient buildings and adequate public transportation. Learn More


population-solution-2-291Being committed to everyone living secure lives in a world of finite resources requires addressing population growth. Empowering women is essential for global sustainability. When women are respected as equal partners in the household and in the community, lower reproductive rates invariably ensue. Learn More

Calculate Your Footprint

Use our online calculator (desktop only) to measure your Ecological Footprint and learn how you can reduce it.

Is your country running an ecological deficit?

Art Gallery

“Footing the Bill: Art and Our Ecological Footprint,” part II of a two-part online exhibition addressing the urgent need to live sustainably within Earth’s finite resources curated by Art Works for Change


See how others are reducing their Ecological Footprints

Paris climate deal: what comes next?/ NATURE

Paris climate deal: what comes next?/ NATURE

«Lebten alle wie wir, bräuchte es drei Planeten»/ HANDELSZEITUNG

«Lebten alle wie wir, bräuchte es drei Planeten»/ HANDELSZEITUNG

What exactly is going to happen at the Climate Signing Ceremony on 22 April?/ UNITED NATIONS

What exactly is going to happen at the Climate Signing Ceremony on 22 April?/ UNITED NATIONS

Greece’s Other Deficit/ PROJECT SYNDICATE

Greece’s Other Deficit/ PROJECT SYNDICATE

By the Numbers

million years ago life first evident on Earth
increase in world population since 1970
decline in average population size of vertebrate species since 1970
of humanity’s Ecological Footprint is carbon


The global agreement to phase out fossil fuels that is being discussed around the world ahead of the Climate Summit in Paris would significantly help curb the Ecological Footprint’s consistent growth and eventually shrink the Footprint.

Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel

If we use more than what we have, the only thing left to eat will be imaginary cookies.

Nicola, 10 years old

If we start accounting for our ecological resources as seriously as we do for our financial assets, we can manage our ecological assets more carefully in order to secure a sustainable, better tomorrow.

Emil Salim, former Minister of Environment, Indonesia

Understanding our ecological demand, and its reach beyond national boundaries allows us to get prepared for the future. It is not that different from our financial expenditures. If we don't track them, we waste them; if we overdraw our 'ecological accounts,' we are undermining our future.

Michael Meacher, Member of Parliament and former Minister of Environment, UK

We are ever deepening our understanding of how crucial nature's services are to our own well-being, prosperity and happiness, and to our very survival. And so we must continue to shift from being irresponsible exploiters to being careful stewards of nature's values and good managers of her essential, finite resources.

Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International

The Earth is sending us clear and bold signals that we are spending more than nature's budget. It's time we took clear and bold actions to reverse the ecological deficit.

Nadarev "Yeb" Saño, former Philippines’ Climate Change Commissioner


Earth Overshoot Day is an initiative of Global Footprint Network, an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with tools to help the human economy operate within Earth’s ecological limits. The date of Earth Overshoot Day is calculated with data from Global Footprint Network’s National Footprint Accounts.