This is our legacy
By Ben Blanchard
Tue Oct 24, 6:29 AM ET
BEIJING (Reuters) - Humans are stripping nature at an
unprecedented rate and will need two planets' worth of natural
resources every year by 2050 on current trends, the WWF
conservation group said on Tuesday.
Populations of many species, from fish to mammals, had
fallen by about a third from 1970 to 2003 largely because of
human threats such as pollution, clearing of forests and
overfishing, the group also said in a two-yearly report.
"For more than 20 years we have exceeded the earth's
ability to support a consumptive lifestyle that is
unsustainable and we cannot afford to continue down this path,"
WWF Director-General James Leape said, launching the WWF's 2006
Living Planet Report.
"If everyone around the world lived as those in America, we
would need five planets to support us," Leape, an American,
said in Beijing.
People in the United Arab Emirates were placing most stress
per capita on the planet ahead of those in the United States,
Finland and Canada, the report said.
Australia was also living well beyond its means.
The average Australian used 6.6 "global" hectares to
support their developed lifestyle, ranking behind the United
States and Canada, but ahead of the United Kingdom, Russia,
China and Japan.
"If the rest of the world led the kind of lifestyles we do
here in Australia, we would require three-and-a-half planets to
provide the resources we use and to absorb the waste," said
Greg Bourne, WWF-Australia chief executive officer.
Everyone would have to change lifestyles -- cutting use of
fossil fuels and improving management of everything from
farming to fisheries.
"As countries work to improve the well-being of their
people, they risk bypassing the goal of sustainability," said
Leape, speaking in an energy-efficient building at Beijing's
prestigous Tsinghua University.
"It is inevitable that this disconnect will eventually
limit the abilities of poor countries to develop and rich
countries to maintain their prosperity," he added.
The report said humans' "ecological footprint" -- the
demand people place on the natural world -- was 25 percent
greater than the planet's annual ability to provide everything
from food to energy and recycle all human waste in 2003.
In the previous report, the 2001 overshoot was 21 percent.
"On current projections humanity, will be using two
planets' worth of natural resources by 2050 -- if those
resources have not run out by then," the latest report said.
"People are turning resources into waste faster than nature
can turn waste back into resources."
"Humanity's footprint has more than tripled between 1961
and 2003," it said. Consumption has outpaced a surge in the
world's population, to 6.5 billion from 3 billion in 1960. U.N.
projections show a surge to 9 billion people around 2050.
It said that the footprint from use of fossil fuels, whose
heat-trapping emissions are widely blamed for pushing up world
temperatures, was the fastest-growing cause of strain.
Leape said China, home to a fifth of the world's population
and whose economy is booming, was making the right move in
pledging to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent over
the next five years.
"Much will depend on the decisions made by China, India and
other rapidly developing countries," he added.
The WWF report also said that an index tracking 1,300
vetebrate species -- birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and
mammals -- showed that populations had fallen for most by about
30 percent because of factors including a loss of habitats to
Among species most under pressure included the swordfish
and the South African Cape vulture. Those bucking the trend
included rising populations of the Javan rhinoceros and the
northern hairy-nosed wombat in Australia.
Re: This is our legacy
That's OK back in the 70's the same groups were predicting we'd all be dead by now. Malthusian predictions of doom and lack of natural resources have been around for 200+ years, always wrong.
This doesn't mean pollute at random BTW. The best remedy for pollution is economic growth. People who have enough to eat worry about their quality of life and the enviroment's impact on their life. The starving are only concerned about their next meal.
They sort of central planning advoacted by these froups doesn't help. To see the effect of central planning look at the enviromental disasters in China and the old Soviet Union.
Re: This is our legacy
There are signs of a "green" revolution, just read an article that Home Depot will begin selling and installing solar panels.. every little step like this is a first step, but need a lot of them to start to turn this around.
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