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Earth Overshoot Day: we must rethink consumption to #MovetheDate

From today, we are officially in debt to our planet. 

Iain Gulland | 28 Jul 22

That’s because today (28 July, 2022) is Earth Overshoot Day – the date on which humanity has used up our quota of ecological resources that the Earth can reproduce within the year. 

It means that we’ve five months of living outwith the limits of our natural environment ahead of us – on finite resources that simply won’t be there in years to come. 

And to make matters worse, Earth Overshoot Day 2022 is actually a day earlier than last year, meaning we’re overtaxing our environment at an ever-faster rate. 

It’s clear that we can’t continue on this path and expect not just our planet to struggle to survive but also our global community.  

The impacts of this unsustainable use of resources are becoming increasingly clear, with climate change, biodiversity decline and the plastic pollution crisis as stark evidence of what is going wrong. 

The recent record-breaking temperatures we have experienced in the UK are surely a wake-up call that urgent action is required if we’re serious about mitigating the worst effects of climate change. 

If we really want to curb our contribution to climate change we need to change the way we consume. 

In Scotland, four-fifths of our carbon footprint comes from the from all the goods, materials and services we produce, use and often throw out after minimal use. 

What’s more, research shows the average Scot consumes around twice the amount of stuff in a year than our environment can sustain. 

We can however turn that around and maintain a good quality of life. The circular economy is the best tool we have to help us do it. 

The circular economy is about making things last. It means keeping goods and materials in high-value use for as long as possible, through smarter design, reuse, repair and remanufacture. 

It’s a way of realising the value of what we already have within our economy and relieving pressure on finite natural resources that are in unsustainable demand for new products. 

The Scottish Government has recently ramped up efforts to drive a circular economy by launching two public consultations on proposals for a Circular Economy Bill and a Route Map to 2025.   

It’s a really welcome step that builds on existing circular economy initiatives – from direct business support to the single-use carrier bag charge and Scotland’s incoming deposit return scheme – and has huge potential to make the circular economy the new normal for Scottish consumers, communities and companies. 

It’s also an opportunity for everyone in Scotland to have their say on the nation’s future circular economy approach. Responding to the consultations is a simple way for us to play our part – and Earth Overshoot Day is a sobering reminder of just how important it is that we all do. 

The public consultations on proposals for a Circular Economy Bill and Route Map to 2025 are open until 22 August. To find out more visit livingcircular.scot  

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