Each year, humans use more natural resources and pour more CO2 into the atmosphere. Today, the planet’s annual capacity to support life was exceeded earlier than ever in history.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the day when “humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.” 1970 was the last year when resources lasted the entire year. We mark this day with a commitment to continue to reduce our carbon footprint personally and to share more ideas about how to reduce yours.

Infographic: Earth Overshoot Day Is Coming Sooner and Sooner | Statista
You will find more infographics at Statista

What can you do to lower the demands humans make on the planet? It’s actually pretty easy to take big steps that, though only a personal change, add up to a collective reduction in consumption and CO2 emissions when everyone participates. Your decision to do the following can set an example for others, and help bring about a change in direction. Perhaps we can push Earth Overshoot Day back to Dec. 31 by 2030 if we all pull together.

Consider Lowering Your Environmental Impact Starting Today

You have habits built during an era that did not recognize how humans have reshaped the planet’s atmosphere and ecosystems. But we know better now, and there are easy and often inexpensive or money-saving ways to make a change.

Skip meat at breakfast and lunch, it can lower your dietary carbon footprint by as much as 50%.

Buy an electric vehicle or bike and walk to work, which can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions dramatically. The benefits of using an EV depend in part on how your local electricity is generated, and we have a worksheet to help estimate your potential improvement.

Go solar at home by investing in panels or buying green electricity through renewable energy credits and if you cannot, set your thermostat at 75 degrees or higher during the summer and as low as you can tolerate comfortably during the winter, preferably at 64 degrees or lower.

Use less water in your yard and home. You can easily reduce your water use by thousands of gallons a year.

Please take the bad news about the earliest-ever Earth Overshoot Day as an opportunity to change. These steps are the low-hanging fruit of sustainable living. Once you’re ready for the next step, we’re here to help.

By Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch is the publisher at Earth911.com and the sustainability leader at Metaforce, a global marketing firm. A veteran tech journalist, Mitch is passionate about helping people understand sustainability and the impact of their buying decisions on the planet.