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UK Overshoot day: resources used faster than they are replaced

news release

Today (17 May) the UK has used up all its natural resources for the year – overshooting what the earth can replenish by more than six months. Friends of the Earth warns that we must “think again about how we consume” as it outlines the solutions needed to push this date back.

A country’s overshoot day is when demand for ecological resources, like fish and forests, goes beyond what can be regenerated in that year.

For the UK, that day is today (17 May). It means that we are now in deficit because we consume more than the planet can provide and from today on, we have gone beyond what the planet can renew.

Aaron Kiely, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner, said:

“Earth’s resources are finite, and we are in a climate and environmental emergency. It’s past time to focus on what we, and government, can do to reverse climate chaos. Today is a warning about how wrong we are at the moment. We know what the solutions are so let’s grab the opportunity with both hands to reverse climate change while we still can.”

Friends of the Earth implores the UK government to adopt its Climate Action Plan by 2020, and:

  • Aim for 100% clean energy
  • Invest in green and affordable transport
  • Double tree cover to tackle climate change and support nature
  • Ban fracking and stop using dirty fuels
  • Fund huge scale insulation and eco-heating schemes
  • Stop backing harmful infrastructure – like airport expansion
  • Pay our fair share to help vulnerable countries

Not all countries will have an overshoot day, but according to research, Kyrgyzstan’s is December 26, meaning that per capita, they are the most able to live within their ecological budget.

Aaron Kiely concluded:

“We have to think again about how we consume. Large-scale political intervention is desperately needed, but as individuals there’s things we can do too: we can stop buying stuff that we just don’t need, make things last, insulate our homes, and collectively stop digging ourselves into ecological debt.

“We need earth and UK overshoot day to be December 31 because we really do only have one planet.”


  1. To calculate a country’s Overshoot Day, the latest data available from the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts is used.

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