IATE Term of the Week: Earth Overshoot Day

August 4, 2017 1:49 pm

Two days ago, on Wednesday the 2nd of August, all the natural resources for 2017 were used up. It was Earth Overshoot Day. This calculated 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” (Global Footprint Network 2017a). This means that from now on, all the energy we consume is ecological debt (Euronews 2017). It is in this context that we have chosen Earth Overshoot Day as the IATE Term of the Week.

A hand squeezing the Planet on a juicer

If we cut carbon emissions in half, the date of Earth Overshoot Day would be pushed back by 89 days, or about three months (Global Footprint Network 2017b).

The Earth Overshoot Day is an initiative of the ONG Global Footprint Network that “has been calculated since 1986” (Revesz 2017). The calculations include data from different fields, for example agricultural production, water use, the emission of greenhouse gases and the exploitation of forests (Chauveau 2017). This year, the natural resources were used up five months before the end of the year, earlier than ever before. Global Footprint Network emphasises, however, that the precise Earth Overshoot Day date for each year is less significant because new findings and improvements of data collection may influence and change the results (Diep 2017).
As can be seen from the following table, we would need 1,7 earths in order to cover our current energy consumption.


Earth Overshoot Day 1969-2017


IATE defines Earth Overshoot Day as the “day on which the ecological resources used up by humanity since the beginning of the current calendar year are equivalent to the resources which the Earth can regenerate in a full year.

Here you can see the entry for Earth Overshoot Day in IATE:

IATE term of the week (entry)

Contribute to IATE! We would appreciate your contribution to update this term in your language. An IATE terminologist of the relevant language will be in charge of the validation of contributions and, thus, a delay is to be expected.

Banner of the IATE Term of the Week - Earth Overshoot Day

 We suggest that you check out some previous IATE Terms of the Week that relate to the environment:


We also encourage you to check out related glossaries through our Glossary Links tool and through our recently-updated EU Glossaries‘ list!

Enjoy terminology learning and have a nice weekend!

Written by Elke Steinhauser – Study visitor at the Terminology Coordination Unit and Master student at the University of Luxembourg. Elke has a Bachelor’s degree in German-French studies, she is now enrolled in the trilingual Master in ‘Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts’ and works as a free-lanced teacher for German as a foreign language. Her interests lie in Intercultural and Multilingual Communication and associated training methods.

Prepared by Laura Campan – Translator, Liaison Interpreter and Communication Manager, currently completing a six-month communication internship at the Terminology Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg)


  • Chauveau. L. (2017) OVERSHOOT DAY. A partir du 2 août, l’humanité vit à crédit. Available at http://bit.ly/2vwwdHw (Accessed 02 August 2017)
  • Diep, A. (2017) Why past Earth Overshoot Day dates keep changing. Available at http://bit.ly/2v02p4x (Accessed 03 August 2017)
  • Euronews (2017) Earth Overshoot Day. The planet is in energy debt from today. Available at http://bit.ly/2waj4B0 (Accessed 02 August)
  • Garric, A. (2017) Depuis aujourd’hui, l’humanité vit à crédit. Available at http://lemde.fr/2unmSfW (Accessed 03 August 2017)
  • Global Footprint Network (2017a) About Earth Overshoot Day. Available at http://bit.ly/2fbrDaQ (Accessed 02 August 2017)
  • Global Footprint Network (2017b) Earth Overshoot Day 2017. Available at http://bit.ly/2wa9Ep1 (Accessed 03 August 2017)
  • Global Footprint Network (2017c). Earth Overshoot Day 1969-2017 [Table]. Available at http://bit.ly/2u3T1db (Accessed 02 August 2017).
  • Revesz, R. (2017) Earth Overshoot Day: Mankind has already consumed more natural resources than the planet can renew throughout 2017.
    Grim milestone falls earlier in calendar than ever before. Available at http://ind.pn/2hr7i1T (Accessed 03 August 2017).

4,409 total views, 3 views today

Categorised in: , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.