For Earth Overshoot Day, PlasticFree calls for creatives to “design differently”

Global Footprint Network has calculated that we’re using more natural resources than the Earth can replenish. So PlasticFree is taking over billboards to spread the message globally.

2 August 2023

Today (2 August 2023) marks Earth Overshoot Day, the date in the year when humanity would ‘run out’ of resources if we were consuming within the Earth’s natural limit of resources per year. Put succinctly on the official Earth Overshoot Day’s website, “overshoot occurs when humanities demand on nature exceeds earth biocapacity”.

To mark this moment, the platform PlasticFree has launched a campaign which broadcasts a simple message of “hope and possibility” on billboards in Times Square and London, asking the creative industry to rethink its design processes. The platform also hosted a poll uncovering that 81 per cent of Britons want companies to embrace a shift from plastic to innovative alternatives.

“The campaign is a simple and timely call to action,” PlasticFree co-founder Sian Sutherland tells It’s Nice That. “We have run out of our share of resources and we need to design differently.”

Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, a global research organisation aiming to change the way the world manages natural resources. The date of 2 August reflects a global average; other countries use up their ‘allocation’ of natural resources much earlier, like UAE, Canada and USA on 13 March, and UK 15 May.

On why PlasticFree chose to amplify the Earth Overshoot Day, Sian explains: “Earth Overshoot Day is a simple stark message – we are borrowing the natural resources from our children’s future, selling them today and calling it growth.” But Sian is also keen to impress the potential the campaign has, detailing the “power” we have to change this trajectory. “Imagine if the 160m global creatives rose up together, using their extraordinary skills to change this.”

Ben Parker, the co-founder and creative director of Made Thought, says: “Design interconnects every aspect of our world, and we firmly believe that every creative professional today has a role in exploring, interpreting and driving this new future.” PlasticFree launched in January 2023; it is a subscription-based design platform featuring information and guidance on plastic-free alternatives, insights into trending materials and system changes.

GalleryPlasticFree: Earth Overshoot Day (Copyright @ PlasticFree, 2023)

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PlasticFree: Earth Overshoot Day (Copyright @ PlasticFree, 2023)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English Literature and History, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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