How does natural resource consumption cause harm?
Almost everything we do involves materials that have been extracted, processed, transformed, bought and sold, taxed and subsidised, and often shifted across vast distances.
Our economy is built around these raw materials (natural resources) like trees, gas, oil, metal ores, water and fertile land. Just look at your smartphone. It likely contains cobalt from Africa, copper from Chile and aluminium from Australia.
Over the years, our appetite for raw materials has grown. From 1970 to 2010, our natural resource consumption more than tripled . Overconsumption worsens climate breakdown and increases air pollution. It exhausts the planet's life support systems like the ones that provide us with fresh water, and leaves us short of materials critical to our health and quality of life.
Resource consumption facts
Planet over Profit
While many of us are conscious about the choices we make, shady practices from businesses behaving badly make it hard to see the impact of what we buy. Many companies involved in global supply chains are wreaking havoc on our planet, and trampling on people's rights.
But they must be held accountable for any damage they cause. That's why our Planet over Profit campaign is calling for a new UK law that requires companies to avoid harm to people and planet in their supply chains.
Plastic sticks around in the environment for ages, threatening wildlife and spreading toxins. Plastic also contributes to climate breakdown...
Almost all plastics are made from chemicals that come from the production of planet-warming fuels (gas, oil and even coal).
Our reliance on plastic therefore prolongs our demand for these dirty fuels. Which is why we're working with other organisations to reduce plastic across all sectors, from supermarkets to stadiums.
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Food and sustainable farming
Intensive farming is linked to loss of wildlife, soil and water pollution, and poor animal welfare.
We don't need factory farms, loads of chemicals or genetically modified seeds to feed a growing population. There are more climate-friendly ways to do things.
The world's richest countries consume on average 10 times as many materials as the poorest. It's grossly unequal. Many of the world's population hardly see a peep of these resources.
North America and Europe have by far the biggest material footprints on the planet. The UK is hugely dependent on other countries’ minerals, raw materials, water and land. If everyone lived like the average US citizen, we'd need around 4 Earths to sustain ourselves – according to data produced by the Global Footprint Network.
We need to end our reliance on extractive fossil fuel industries.
Here in the UK, we've got colossal renewable energy resources like wind, wave and solar to help us lower our climate-changing emissions.
What's more, with the right investment by government, the transition to renewable energy could create thousands of jobs.