We bet you won't believe some of these startling stats about consumption and our planet. We've compiled a list - and their references - for you here.

CLIMATE BREAKDOWN

[1] Our growing appetite for things whose production, transportation, use and wastage create greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the climate breakdown.

[2] If we continue emitting greenhouse gases at the same pace, Earth will warm between two and six degrees Celsius over the next century – resulting in catastrophic consequences for humans and planet.

[3] There are more greenhouse gases are in our atmosphere this year than ever before.

[4] Cities like Miami may experience extreme flooding within the next century.

EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION

[5] In the UK, Britons are currently living lifestyles that require three planets to support them.

[6] Half of British people think the UK has become very consumerist.

[7] Only 1% of the materials used to produce consumer goods are still in use six months after the goods were bought.

[8] There will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

[9] (a) Europeans would need to reduce their personal carbon footprint by approximately 8 tonnes of CO₂ per year to be on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

(b) To reduce a carbon footprint by 8 tonnes, you would need to eat a plant-based diet, forgo flying and live car-free, use renewable energy to power our homes, recycle all waste, wash clothes with cold water and hang dry them, and use energy efficient light bulbs for a year.

IMPACT ON MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING

[10] A focus on acquiring more possessions and wealth doesn’t improve our wellbeing, and is actually more likely to hurt it.

[11] Prevalence of advertising and electronic media usage has increased in line with young people’s levels of unhappiness, anxiety and depression.

[12] The more value placed on things that convey status (materialism), the less likely people experience life satisfaction, marital satisfaction, happiness, vitality, social cooperation and environmentally friendly behaviour, and the more people are likely to manifest depression, anxiety, racism and antisocial behaviour.

IMPACT ON YOUNG PEOPLE

[13] A majority of young people place climate change in their top three concerns.

[14] Young people’s rates of depression, anxiety and unhappiness have risen by 70% compared to 30 years ago.

[15] A majority of UK teenage girls and young women say they are made to feel like the most important thing about them is the way they look.

[16] A study found that American children (aged 6-12) spend more time shopping than they do reading, playing outdoors or talking with others.

[17] Children in the most deprived communities are exposed to the most advertising.

IMPACT ON BIODIVERSITY AND RESOURCES

[18] At the dawn of agriculture, humans and their domestic animals comprised 1% of the total weight of land animals. By 2000, this had expanded to 97%. Today, that number is closer to 98.5%.

[19] Around 150-200 species of animals and plants become extinct every day due to habitat loss.

[20] Human impact is driving the world's sixth mass extinction.

[21] Earth Overshoot Day – the day where humans reach nature’s limit to replenish its resources – was August 2nd, 2017 this year, a full 5 months earlier than it was in 1970 (when consumption started ballooning).

[22] Currently, the quicker the global population grows in size and appetite, the more water, land, energy, nutrients, and minerals is transformed into waste.

[23] The earth cannot replenish resources at the rate that humans extract, use, pollute and dump them.

[24] Humanity’s consumption of materials is set to triple by 2050.

[25] 60% more clothes were bought in 2014 than in 2000, and each garment kept for half as long.

[26] In the UK, we bin 23.5 kilos of e-waste per person, per year.

[27] Protecting the natural world is important for the simple reason that humans cherish and enjoy its beauty and wonder.

[28] People are the main cause of degradation of ecosystems and are triggering mass ecocide of animals and plants.

IMPACT ON SOCIETY

[29] 17% of the world's population uses up 80% of the world's resources.

[30] 168 million children work across the world.

[31] There are approximately 46 million slaves in the world.

[32] Millions of workers around the world face poor pay, perilous and terrible working conditions, illness and harassment.

[33] About 40,000 children as young as 7 are sent down mines in the DRC to collect cobalt for lithium batteries to power the world's electronic devices.

[34] An estimated 20,000 children work in mines retrieving mica, the mineral that adds an iridescent shimmer to some eyeshadows and blushers.

PERSONAL SOLUTIONS TO EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION

[35] By spending more time outside, rewilding, the more feelings of empathy will grow towards others (a) and the living world (b).

[36] There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, including reflecting on or writing down past experiences for which one is grateful. Writing a letter to someone to say thank you is another way.

[37] With clutter around us, we are more likely to feel stressed and depressed. De-cluttering can provide us with an opportunity to de-stress.

[38] Mindfulness reduces levels of anxiety and depression and enhances life satisfaction.

[39] People who pursue intrinsic goals, such as trying to help others or protecting the environment, report higher levels of wellbeing and self-actualisation than those who pursue extrinsic values like wealth or popularity

EXCESSIVE CHRISTMAS CONSUMPTION

[40] Brits receive £2.6 billion worth of unwanted presents at Christmas. A third of adults are given gifts they just didn't want (with an average value per present of £155.)

[41] 5 million Britons say they ‘regularly worry’ about money in the run up to Christmas, while the same number ‘feel stressed’ about how much they are spending. 3 million people say that money worries have a negative impact on their enjoyment of Christmas, while 1 million say they even lose sleep as a result.

One in three Britons are borrowing to pay for Christmas costs in 2016, and one in five are putting Christmas food on credit. At the same time, one in three feel ‘well prepared’ for Christmas costs and one in 10 also expect Christmas to come in under budget.

REFERENCES 

The numbered citations below correspond to the numbered stats and facts above.

[1] Barrett, J. & Scott, K., (2012). Link between climate change mitigation and resource efficiency: A UK case study. Global Environmental Change, 22(1), pp.299–307. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2011.11.003; Friends of the Earth. (2009). Over-consumption: Our use of the world´s natural resources. [Online] Retrieved from: https://www.foe.co.uk/sites/default/files/downloads/overconsumption.pdf (on the 15/09/2017); Princen, T., Maniates, M. and Conca, K. (Eds.) (2002) Confronting Consumption. Boston MA: MIT Press
[2] IPCC, (2013). Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1535 pp.1-1552
[3] WMO. (2016). WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin | World Meteorological Organization. WMO Bulletin, 2015, pp.1–4.
[4] Wdowinski, S., Bray, R., Kirtman, B.P. and Wu, Z. (2016) Increasing flooding hazard in coastal communities due to rising sea level: Case study of Miami Beach, Florida. Ocean & Coastal Management, 126: 1-8
[5] WWF. (2014). Living Planet Report 2014: Species and spaces, people and places. [Online] Accessed at http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/lpr2014_low_res_embargo.pdf (on the 08/11/2017)
[6] YouGov study in Dahlgren, W. (2014, December 2). Consumer Britain: young people most likely to buy things they don't need. [Online] Accessed at https://yougov.co.uk/news/2014/12/02/consumer-britain/ on the (06/11/2017)
[7] Hawken, P., Lovins, A.B and Lovins, L.H. (1999). Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Company
[8] Ellen Macarthur Foundation (2016). The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics. Ellen MacArthur Foundation Report, (January)
[9] (a) Chancel, L. & Piketty, T., (2015). Carbon and Inequality: from Kyoto to Paris. Paris School of Economics, (Nov.), pp.1–4 ; (b) Carrington, D. (2017, July 12). Want to Fight Climate Change? Have Fewer Children. The Guardian, [online] Accessed at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/12/want-to-fight-climate-change-have-fewer-children (on the 17.07.17)
[10] Dittmar, H., Bond, R., and Hurst, M. (2014). The relationship between materialism and personal well-being: A meta-analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 107(5), pp.879–924.
[11] Twenge J.M. and Kasser T. (2013) Generational changes in materialism and work centrality, 1976-2007: Associations with temporal changes in societal insecurity and materialistic role modeling. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2013; 39(7):883-897
[12] Twenge. J.M. (2017). iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us. New York: Atria Books.
[13] World Economic Forum. (2017). Global Shapers Survey: Annual Survey. 2017 [online] Accessed at http://shaperssurvey2017.org/ (on the 05.10.17); Broadbent, E. et al., (2017). What The World’s People Think And Feel: Generation Z Global Citizenship Survey. [online] Available at: https://www.varkeyfoundation.org/sites/default/files/Global Young People Report %28digital%29 NEW %281%29.pdf (on the 05.08.17)
[14] Pieters, R. (2013). Bidirectional Dynamics of Materialism and Loneliness: Not Just a Vicious Cycle. Journal of Consumer Research, 40 (4): 615-631. doi: 10.1086/671564
[15] Girl Guides. (2016). Girls' Attitudes Survey. [Online] Accessed at https://www.girlguiding.org.uk/social-action-advocacy-and-campaigns/research/girls-attitudes-survey/ (on the 01/10/17)
[16] Sandberg.J.F. and Hofferth, S. (2001) How American Children Spend Their Time. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63:295-308.
[17] Chaplin, L. N., Hill, R. P., & John, D. R. (2014). Poverty and Materialism: A Look at Impoverished Versus Affluent Children. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 33(1). https://doi.org/10.1509/jppm.13.050
[18] Smil, V., (2011). Harvesting the biosphere: The human impact. Population and Development Review, 37(4), pp.613–636.
[19] WWF China. (2017). Species. [Online] Accessed at http://en.wwfchina.org/en/what_we_do/species/ (on the 21.02.2017)
[20] Williams, M., Zalasiewicz, J., Haff, P.K., Schwägerl, C., Barnosky, A.D and Ellis, E. C. (2015). The Anthropocene biosphere. The Anthropocene Review, 2(3), pp.196–219. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/2053019615591020.
[21] Overshoot Day (2017). Past Earth Overshoot Days. [Online] Accessed at http://www.overshootday.org/newsroom/past-earth-overshoot-days/ (on the 01/10/17)
[22] Daly, H.E. and Farley, J. (2011) (2nd Ed) Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications. Washington D.C: Island Press; EU Commission. (2011). Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, COM(2011) 571, [online] Accessed at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52011DC0571&from=EN (on the 03/02/17)
[23] Rockström, J., W. Steffen, K. Noone, Å. Persson, F. S. Chapin, III, E. Lambin, T. M. Lenton, M. Scheffer, C. Folke, H. Schellnhuber, B. Nykvist, C. A. De Wit, T. Hughes, S. van der Leeuw, H. Rodhe, S. Sörlin, P. K. Snyder, R. Costanza, U. Svedin, M. Falkenmark, L. Karlberg, R. W. Corell, V. J. Fabry, J. Hansen, B. Walker, D. Liverman, K. Richardson, P. Crutzen, and J. Foley. (2009) Planetary boundaries: exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and Society 14(2): 32.; Platform Agriculture, Innovation and Society (IATP). (2012). Scarcity of micronutrients in soil, feed, food, and mineral reserves – Urgency and policy options. [Online] Accessed at http://www.iatp.org/files/scarcity_of_micronutrients.pdf on the 01.02.17; Henckens, M.L.C.M, van Ierland, E.C., Driessen, P.P.J., Worrell, E. (2016). Mineral resources: Geological scarcity, market price trends, and future generations. Resources Policy,(Sep 2016) Vol. 49, pp.102-111.
[24] UNEP (2011) Decoupling natural resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth, A Report of the Working Group on Decoupling to the International Resource Panel. [Fischer-Kowalski, M., Swilling, M., von Weizsäcker, E.U., Ren, Y., Moriguchi, Y., Crane, W., Krausmann, F., Eisenmenger, N., Giljum, S., Hennicke, P., Romero Lankao, P., Siriban Manalang, A.] Accessed at: http://www.gci.org.uk/Documents/Decoupling_Report_English.pdf on the (09.07.2017)
[25] Mckinsey & Co. (2016). Style that’s sustainable: A new fast-fashion formula’ [online] Accessed at https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability-and-resource-productivity/our-insights/style-thats-sustainable-a-new-fast-fashion-formula (on the 20.11.2017)
[26] Baldé, C.P., Wang, F., Kuehr, R., Huisman, J. (2015), The global e-waste monitor – 2014, United Nations University, IAS – SCYCLE, Bonn, Germany
[27] World Centric. (2017). Social and Economic Justice. [Online] Accessed at http://worldcentric.org/conscious-living/social-and-economic-injustice (on the 01/10/17)
[28] Chan, K.M.A. et al., (2016). Opinion: Why protect nature? Rethinking values and the environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(6), pp.1462–1465. Available at: http://www.pnas.org/lookup/doi/10.1073/pnas.1525002113; Monbiot, G. (2017). Forget ‘the environment’: we need new words to convey life’s wonders. The Guardian.[Online] Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/09/forget-the-environment-new-words-lifes-wonders-language (on the 21.08.2017)
[29] Butchart, S.H.M. et al. (2010). Global Biodiversity: Indicators of Recent Declines. Science (May 2010), Vol. 328; Mora, C. and P.F. Sale, P.F. (2011) Ongoing Global Biodiversity Loss and the Need to Move Beyond Protected Areas: A Review of the Technical and Practical Shortcomings of Protected Areas on Land and Sea. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 251(254).
[30] International Labour Organisation (ILO). (2013). Marking progress against child labour: Global estimates and trends 2000-2012 Report. [Online] Accessed at http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---ipec/documents/publication/wcms_221513.pdf (on the 10.10.17)
[31] Global Slavery Index (GSI). (2017). Global Findings. [online] Accessed at http://www.globalslaveryindex.org/ (on the 15/09/2017)
[32] Tenenbaum, D. (2002) Would a Rose Not Smell as Sweet? Problems Stem from the Cut Flower Industry, Environmental Health Perspective, 110, A240-241; Leonard, A. (2011). Story of Stuff: The Impact of Overconsumption on the Planet, Our Communities, and Our Health-And How We Can Make It Better. London: Simon and Schuster
[33] Amnesty. (2016). Democratic Republic of Congo: ‘This is what we die for’: Human rights abuses in the Democratic Republic of the Congo power the global trade in cobalt. [Online] Accessed at https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr62/3183/2016/en/
[34] SOMO. (2016). Beauty and a Beast: Child Labour in India for Sparkling Cars and Cosmetics. [Online] Accessed at https://www.somo.nl/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Beauty-and-a-Beast.pdf (on the 16.02.2017)
[35] (a) Zhang, J.W., Piff, P.K., Iyer, R., Koleva, S., and Keltner, D.(2014). An occasion for unselfing: Beautiful nature leads to prosociality. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 37, pp.61–72.; (b) Broom, C. (2017). Exploring the Relations Between Childhood Experiences in Nature and Young Adults’ Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 33(1): 34-47. doi:10.1017/aee.2017.1
[36] Rash, J. A., Matsuba, M. K. and Prkachin, K. M. (2011) Gratitude and Well-Being: Who Benefits the Most from a Gratitude Intervention? Applied Psychology,3(3): 350-369.
[37] Repetti, R. and Saxbe, D.E. (2010) No Place Like Home: Home Tours Correlate with Daily Patterns of Mood and Stress. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(1): 71-81
[38] (anxiety and depression) - Krusche, A., Cyhlarova, E. and Williams, J. M. G. (2013) Mindfulness online: an evaluation of the feasibility of a web-based mindfulness course for stress, anxiety and depression. BMJ open, 3(11), pp. 1-11; (life satisfaction) - Mackenzie, C. S., Poulin, P. A. and Seidman-Carlson, R. (2006) A brief mindfulness- based stress reduction intervention for nurses and nurse aides. Applied Nursing Research, 19(2), pp. 105-109.
[39] Kasser, T., & Ryan, R.M. (1996). Further examining the American dream: Differential correlates of intrinsic and extrinsic goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22: 280-287
[40] Triodos Bank. (2014). £2.6bn spent on unwanted Christmas presents. [Online] Accessed at https://www.triodos.co.uk/en/about-triodos/news-and-media/media-releases/26bn-spent-on-unwanted-christmas-presents/ (on the 20.01.2017
[41] Money Advice Trust (2016) Money worries ‘put Christmas at risk’ for up to five million Britons. [online] Accessed at http://www.moneyadvicetrust.org/media/news/Pages/Money-worries-put-Christmas-at-risk-for-up-to-five-million-Britons-.aspx (on the 28.11.17)