The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has just released its 2014 Living Planet Report and it shows that humans are going through Earth’s resources at a much faster rate than nature can replenish them. The results: a growing human population and decreased wildlife, depleted natural habitats, and a gloomy vision of what the future has in store for us.
”We are using nature’s gifts as if we had more than just one Earth at our disposal,” wrote WWF Director General Marco Lambertini in the foreword to the publication. “By taking more from our ecosystems and natural processes than can be replenished, we are jeopardizing our very future.”
According to the report, humans are going through natural resources at a rate that would require 1.5 Earths to replenish them in time. While different countries had different carbon footprints, both developed and third world countries are to blame for the destruction. Richer countries like the United States had a bigger amount of carbon emissions while countries like Kuwait had a bigger consumption of land and forest products.
Overall, the most staggering statistics were the ones on loss of wildlife. By tracking the population of 3,038 species of animals ranging from sharks to elephants, albatrosses and turtles, the study concluded that the number of living wild animals on Earth has declined by 52 percent since 1970. The number in just Latin America is even more alarming at 83 percent.
“The number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe is, on average, about half the size it was 40 years ago,” said the report.
Meanwhile the human population has boomed, going from 3.7 billion in 1970 to 7 billion today and is estimated to keep growing.
“With the world population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 and 11 billion by 2100, the amount of biocapacity available for each of us will shrink further,” warned the report.
The consequences of such disparaging numbers are already evident in the over 768 million people who don’t have access to clean water and almost a billion who face hunger worldwide.
According to Lambertini, that is the crucial factor to keep in mind as we go forward.
“We are all in this together. We all need nutritious food, fresh water and clean air, wherever in the world we live.”