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Today is Earth Overshoot Day, how can we #MoveTheDate?

This year, Earth Overshoot Day falls on 29 July - nearly eight months in, which should be interpreted as a stark warning from our shared planet. 

Iain Gulland | 29 Jul 21

Today marks the point when humanity’s demand for ecological resources in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. 

The reality is that we produce and consume far too much. 

Our Material Flow Accounts report, launched last month, shows that the average Scot consumes 18.4 tonnes of materials every year – that’s the equivalent of 50kg per week on average. 

Academics agree that a sustainable level of material use, which would still allow for a high quality of life, is about eight tonnes per person per year. 

Our current mode of overconsumption is having a huge impact on the planet. We need to think carefully about all the raw materials used to make products, for example oil and metal ores, and all the finished products we consume, whether made in Scotland or imported. 

Flying less and switching to renewable energy are effective solutions to tackling climate change, but so is thinking circular when it comes to the products and services we consume. 

We need a system wide change that enables us all to choose more sustainable ways to live, use the things we need and share resources. 

We can buy smarter, buy long-lasting and buy fewer single-use items. Could you rent a power drill from a tool library rather than buy one? Could you upcycle an old bedside cabinet rather than throwing it out? Could you take your broken laptop to a repair café? 

Lots of Scottish businesses are already helping Scots move towards a fully circular future. 

The newly launched Remade store in Glasgow’s Govanhill is a social enterprise that repairs broken household items. The repair and reuse shop helps their customers build a longer relationship with their goods. Most belongings, from tech to textiles, can be repaired with the right know-how, and with more avenues available, Scotland will be able to shift away from a throwaway society. 

Earth Overshoot Day is a reminder that our planet’s resources are precious and finite. We’re lucky to live in a society where we can order whatever we need with a touch of a button. But clearly our current rate of resource consumption is unsustainable. We can, and we must, consume and waste less, not only for our own benefit but for future generations too. 

We’re living like we have a second Earth full of resources out there when we only have one. Explore what having a second Earth would look like using our Augmented Reality tool, found on our social media channels and How to Waste Less website, and the camera on your phone or tablet. Once you spot it, screenshot to share on Facebook or Instagram stories tagging @HowToWasteless. 

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