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Right now the good stuff!  Reading time is 3:57 minutes
Climate Change

'World Overshoot Day' is earliest its ever been - 1st August

What's Going On Here?

This week it was announced that Earth Overshoot Day will fall on the 1st August - the earliest it’s ever been. 

Humans are using up the planet’s resources so quickly that the world’s population has used a year’s worth in just seven months.


What Does This Mean?

Earth Overshoot Day marks the point at which we’ve used a year’s worth of resources. The day is calculated by the Global Footprint Network which compares how much carbon, crops, food, water, forests we’re consuming with the planet’s ability to regenerate and absorb the carbon emitted from the consumption.

Each year, Earth Overshoot Day falls on a different day depending on how much we’ve used. You’d hope that the more we know about our impact on the planet, the more we’d change and the less we’d exploit it – but the graph below shows that this isn’t the case. We’re using more resources than ever! The red below shows increasing amounts of ‘unsustainable consumption’.

Why Should We Care? 

If we continue to use resources at such a fast rate it could have impacts on all of our lives. Biodiversity loss and soil erosion could affect the crops we’re able to grow, buy and eat. Water scarcity could mean more hosepipe bans or pricier water bills. And increasing levels of carbon will contribute to climate change and lead to more droughts, wildfires and hurricanes (and heatwaves like our current one according to this Met Office scientist).

This year’s date means that we would need 1.7 earths to maintain our current rate of consumption, and as the t-shirts all say ‘there is no Planet B’. We don’t have spare planets so it’s important for each of us to protect this one.

Be Curious!

How many planets would we need if everyone lived like you? Apparently, we’d need 2.1 if everyone lived like me - I’ve got some work to do!

Calculate your footprint to find out your personal Overshoot Day. This handy tool gives you loads of great ideas on where you can cut back and change your habits - from cutting down on meat and dairy to making your home more energy efficient.


#MoveTheDate

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Global Warming

Taking coral saving geo-engineering with a pinch of salt

What's Going On Here?

Australia has announced plans to fire salt into clouds in an attempt to protect the Great Barrier Reef from coral bleaching.

Geoengineers (scientists who manipulate the earth’s climate system) hope to use sea-salt crystals to brighten the clouds above the reef, which would make them better at reflecting the sun’s rays away from earth and cooling sea temperatures.


What Does This Mean?

It may sound like a plot from a science-fiction film, but this is a genuine strategy that’s being trialled to cool sea temperatures and counter the effects of climate change and help prevent coral bleaching.

However, despite having good intentions, geoengineering is often met with scepticism. Many people see it as a controversial and risky area of science that could do more harm than good to our delicately balanced climate. Other projects also include creating 'super coral.'

Critics also warn that schemes like the reflective salt clouds are the equivalent of sticking a band-aid on a bullet hole (any Taylor Swift fans in the house?) - they don’t address the underlying causes of the problem. Rising global ocean temperatures.

Why Should We Care? 

Following two years of mass coral bleaching, where rising sea temperatures killed around 30% of coral in the Great Barrier Reef, our underwater ecosystems are under threat like never before in human history. 

Scientists state: “the Great Barrier Reef is certainly threatened by climate change, but it is not doomed if we deal very quickly with greenhouse gas emissions.”

Salty clouds may not be a permanent solution to the problem of coral bleaching, but if successful they could help to buy time.

Be Curious!

It may seem like a problem that we have little control over as individuals, but there are lots of things you can do to help protect coral reefs.

If you are lucky enough to visit a coral reef, avoid touching the coral and choose a reef-safe sunscreen that doesn’t contain chemicals that can be harmful to marine life.

For those staying closer to home, you could volunteer or donate to a charity that works to preserve marine habitats. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) organises regular beach cleans across the UK - why not find some Curious.friends and get involved?

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Other news we found curious...

Office-sharing company WeWork goes meat-free for a 'better world' - curious.earth
Top football clubs to wear shirts made from recycled ocean plastic  - curious.earth
Why can’t we just produce less waste? Rewards-based recycling initiative only fuels more consumption Guardian
Poppy Gaunt
NEWS WRITER
Abi Aldridge
NEWS WRITER
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