Experts: If everyone lived like the Dutch, we would need four Earths

Experts: If everyone lived like the Dutch, we would need four Earths

On April 1 the Netherlands marked its overshoot day - the day when the amount of raw materials the Earth can produce in one year drops below how much the population consumes - almost two weeks earlier in 2024. The milestone demonstrates the high use of resources that residents of the Netherlands partake in, and how big the country’s carbon footprint is. 

We would need four Earths to keep up Dutch consumption of resources

In 2023, Dutch overshoot day took place on April 12, but this year it was moved forward to April 1 to reflect an increase in the public's carbon footprint. According to experts, if every country on Earth consumed the planet’s resources in the same amount that the Netherlands does, we would need four Earths to keep up with the demands of the planet’s population. 

The Netherlands' overshoot day comes earlier than in many other European countries. Only Luxembourg (February 20), Denmark (March 16) and Belgium (March 23) had earlier overshoot days than the Netherlands in 2024. At the top of the grim list globally is Qatar, where raw materials were already “exhausted” by February 11, 2024.

Experts say the Netherlands needs to waste less and make agreements about the climate

In order to slow down climate change and make a positive contribution to the planet by lowering its carbon emissions, the Netherlands needs to shift its focus, according to experts. One of the key things that experts say will be important in determining the future climate of the Netherlands and the broader world, is that once the new Dutch government is eventually formed, they place an emphasis on making contributions to the climate through more global, regional and national climate action plans and agreements. 

The other thing the Netherlands must look at is the way in which it consumes food, water and wood - some of the primary resources of the planet. By reducing waste, and being more considerate about resource use, the Netherlands could in future push its overshoot day back, rather than forward.

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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