What is Overshoot?

The human load on the planet is our common ecological footprint and overshoot is when we take more from Nature than it can replenish. The ecological footprint is one way of collecting all our impacts on the natural world into one metric, and it was introduced by William Rees and Mathis Wackernagel in the 1990s. All the minerals we use, the forests we cut, the pollution we excrete are all converted into an equivalent “area of Nature” that could handle this load.
Intuitively, it feels obvious that the planet could handle some extraction, but only up to a certain limit. A few centuries back, when the human population was just a few percent of today’s number, the total load on the global environment was small. There were local ecological overshoots, like desertification and forest losses, but on the whole the world could recover and rebound.

It is not possible to measure the ecological footprint exactly, and it is also impossible to know exactly what the planet can take (biocapacity). (I guess that our estimates have an error margin of +-20%.)
We are in overshoot since approx 1970 (with error margins approx 1950-1980), which is all my life. In 2022, the human load on the planet is almost double of what Earth can handle.

The ecological footprint of each individual is mainly connected with consumption of energy, food, housing, transportation and gadgets. The more money we spend on almost anything, the larger ecological footprint we have. Therefore, most people in the world are living within planetary boundaries, since they cannot consume so much.

We rich people in the rich world (with annual spending above 7000 USD/euro) are the ones who destroy the planet (for a background to this number see the book and forum of Jakob Lund Fisker ).

We are the Overshooters. We are the ones who purchase most of the stuff that the multinational corporations produce.

The Epic Challenges of our times

We live in a unique time, with opportunities for epic contributions to the world. We can choose to reduce our ecological footprint, and live within boundaries. We can inspire others to also reduce consumption. We can drive political change to eradicate advertisement. We can plant trees and restore damaged ecosystems.

We can strengthen the biocapacity of the planet – increase our direct personal ecological handprint.

We can help others to reduce their footprint, which has even more promise, our indirect handprint can be much larger than our own footprint. We can become Handprinters.

Overshooters Anonymous

Many of us live with guilt and shame. We know that we should do better, but temptation is strong to consume. To take on a more prestigious job with more air travel. To join overconsuming friends on faraway vacations. To get a new smartphone to show off.
Consumerism is a kind of dependency, which destroys our souls as it devours the world.

One of the best ways to get out of addiction is to work together in a group of peers. Alcoholics Anonymous has done this for almost 100 years, and is the obvious inspiration for us. This website is a digital meeting place to talk about our pain and our struggles and our wins. We support each other to become better people.

Many of us are recovering overshooters, who live well by doing good. We manage most of the time to keep our consumption at bay. We contribute wherever we can to build a future that is richer.

When we do good, we live well. We meet new and more inspiring friends. We sleep better and maybe even look better!