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Our planet’s health and resources influence all of our lives, however, we are currently overusing (or overshooting) the use of Earth’s resources. This means our entire planet is running an ecological deficit while we use more resources than can be regenerated.

This year, Earth Overshoot Day falls on July 29. The day is not celebratory, but it does mark an important day in the calendar year. Earth Overshoot is the day the human population max outs Earth’s biocapacity resources – here’s why that matters:

  • This year, we will use about 1.7 Earths worth of resources in one year.
  • Regions around the world already feel the harmful effects of overshoot, from food deserts and the lack of drinkable water to an increase in life-threatening natural disasters.
  • The planet feels these effects through loss of biodiversity and climate change.

This overuse of resources has continued to creep up over the years as human population and our ecological footprint grows while the biocapacity of Earth does not grow to match it – remember, our resources are finite.

It is crucial that we recognize this day and work towards pushing it later into the calendar year in order to build a more sustainable planet.

Female Empowerment for Global Sustainability

Advocating for the rights of women and girls is one essential step in working to push back Earth Overshoot Day. Through this lens, the lives of many people can improve, while simultaneously improving sustainability and making the world more resource secure.

Girls’ Education

Today, only 39% of rural girls attend secondary school. Without education, it is challenging to gain important life skills, find work, and reach financial stability. When we put an emphasis on educating girls, we empower them with the tools they need to have agency over their lives, including how many children they choose to have. According to the Earth Overshoot Day organization, “educated girls earn up to 25% more per year in secondary school, reinvest 90% in their families, and are three times less likely to be HIV positive. They marry later, have smaller, healthier families, and invest in their children’s education.”

Reproductive Health and Resource Equity

Educating girls can improve the lives of families and make the planet more resource secure.

When girls have access to education, they are better equipped to choose when and how many children they want to have, which is good news for resource allocation – both at home and in larger communities. For instance, when families can plan for children, they are more likely to adequately provide for their needs (whether it's food, shelter, or financial needs).

Here at PMC, we work to educate and empower women by addressing harmful social norms through popular entertainment, demonstrating how individuals can be agents of change in their own lives and make the decisions that are best for them and planet Earth. Our transformative storytelling approach empowers women to voluntarily choose contraception and family planning if it’s right for them – a choice that can be beneficial to their financial stability and the planet. For instance, through our show, Vencer el Miedo (“Overcome the Fear”), young adult viewers were 1.79 times more likely than non-viewers to have used dual contraception to prevent unintended pregnancies

Overshoot Big Picture

Empowering women and girls is one action step toward a more equitable and sustainable world. However, a sustainable planet doesn’t just depend on one change. Earth Overshoot Day raises awareness for solutions like population stabilization, food distribution, energy usage, and city infrastructure.

It will take all of us, working together, to push back Earth Overshoot Day. If we all become advocates for the change we want to see, it is possible to better the health of our planet. To learn more about steps that can help push back Earth Overshoot day you can visit, OverShootDay.org.


Picture of Abigail Carroll

Written by Abigail Carroll

Abigail is a Marketing and Communications Intern at Population Media Center. She is studying Public Communication and Political Science at the University of Vermont.