THE world has already used up humanity’s allotment of natural resources for 2019, environmental campaigners warned last night as they emphasised the urgent need for action.

By midnight, the world’s population had consumed more resources than the planet can sustainably regenerate for the rest of the year, according to the Global Footprint Network (GFN).

It branded yesterday “Earth Overshoot Day” and said in a grim warning 
that it was the earliest the annual marker has ever occurred, as it has moved up by two months over the past 20 years.

And at current consumption rates, GFN said the equivalent of 1.75 planets would be required to produce enough to meet humanity’s needs.

Mathis Wackernagel, founder of the California-based organisation said: “We have only got one Earth - this is the ultimate defining context for human existence.

“We can’t use 1.75 Earths without destructive consequences.

“Our current economies are running a Ponzi scheme with our planet. We are borrowing the Earth’s future resources to operate our economies in the present. Like any Ponzi scheme, this works for some time.

"But as nations, companies, or households dig themselves deeper and deeper into debt, they eventually fall apart.”

READ MORE: Earth Overshoot Day: We've used up nature's 2019 budget 

The GFN adds up usage of a range of resources, from food and timber to fibres and plastic to make the calculation, while presently, carbon emissions from burning fossil fuel make up of 60% of humanity’s ecological footprint.

In a statement, it added: “The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, or the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“The latter leads to climate change and more frequent extreme weather events.”

And it is noted that Earth Overshoot Day fell at the end of July, after parts of Europe, including the UK, recorded record-breaking temperatures.

The UK saw its hottest July day and second hottest day on record as the mercury hit 38.1C, the Met Office said, as they stressed that there is “no doubt” climate change is playing a role.

Scientists have also issued stark warnings that the climate crisis is ensuring summer heatwaves are five times more likely - and significantly more intense.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said if everyone lived like we do in Scotland, we would need nearly two extra planets to replenish what we use.

He added: “We are now in global overdraft, using more resources and creating more pollution than the planet can cope with in the longer term.

“Climate change is a big part of the problem and we are going in the right direction, especially in moving to renewable energy generation. But we need to go faster.”

And he stressed the need for each of us to re-think our contributions.

He said: “We also need to tackle our massively wasteful use of materials. This is graphically illustrated by the plastic waste which contaminates the world’s seas and oceans.

“This means reducing the amount of stuff we use in the first place, reusing and recycling as much as possible and banning those materials that can’t be sensibly recycled.”

Trying to effect action, bodies such as the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment used social media on Earth Overshoot Day to highlight what needs to be done to try and “move the date” back.

READ MORE: Why scorched Europeans are heading to Scotland to chill out 

The official account for the EU Commission Directorate-General for Environment said on Twitter: “We’ve already used up all-natural resources that our planet can renew in 2019 - we need to move the date!”

It called for humanity to reduce single-use plastics and waste, boost recycling and make smarter commutes, adding: “Let’s love our planet.”

GFN said moving the date of overshoot day just five days each year would allow humanity to reach one-planet compatibility before 2050, highlighting “significant opportunities” to do so in five key areas - cities, energy, food, population, and the planet.

For instance, cutting CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning by 50% would #MoveTheDate by 93 days, the organisation said, while overpopulation is also a key area, with Mr Wackernagel saying one of the best solutions is providing women and girls with the same economic and educational opportunities offered to men.

GFN has now launched a campaign to end Earth Overshoot Day for good, aiming to conserve enough resources to move the date by these five days each year — so that by 2050, we can live within the resources of one Earth. 

Mr Wackernagel added: “It’s not about sacrifice. It’s all about investing in a future where our next generation, our children, can thrive. There are tons of solutions possible with very high impact. Again, the question is, do we want them?”