Humanity Will Need Two Earths By 2030 WWF

B. McPherson

The World Wildlife Fund has released its Living PlanetReport 2012 and it is warning humanity that something must be done soon to slow the pillaging of the Earth or we will need the equivalent of two Earths in less than 20 years.
The natural resources of Earth are being used up faster than the natural systems can replace them.

The trend in the decline of the Earth’s health is already evident in the loss of biodiversity, particularly in the tropical regions, but averages out at about 30% loss of species since 1970. While many might say no loss if a particular insect disappears, the loss of one species has impact on the viability of others. A basic tenet of ecology is “Everything is connected to everything else.” Poisoning of agricultural land and water coupled with poor husbandry has led to desertification and abandonment of farmland. Humans aid invasive species which upset the delicate balances of plants and animals in an area. Just this morning reports are coming in about a snake head fish indigenous to Asia being spotted in a Vancouver lagoon. (Vancouver Sun). These fish eat anything including small mammals and can survive out of water for up to half an hour.

This warning comes as human populations swell, doubling since 1950 to 7 billion globally. Developed countries use far more resources per person than undeveloped. The debate goes on and on about whether small population developed countries use more than their share of global resources or whether high population developing countries use more. The debate is blinding us to the fact that we are now a global village and there is no other place. We are all affected by events a hemisphere away and will suffer no matter where we live if we haven’t the will to change.

If all of humanity lived like an average resident of Indonesia, only two-thirds of the planet’s biocapacity would be used; if everyone lived like an average Argentinean, humanity would demand more than half an ad­ditional planet; and if everyone lived like an average resident of the USA, a total of four Earths would be required to regener­ate humanity’s annual demand on nature.WWF

Page eight of the report has a graph showing the ecological footprint of many of the world’s countries based on a per person usage. So while it tells us that what individuals generally are impacting the world, it doesn’t tell us how much that country impacts the world. For instance the people who individually impact world resources the most are those living in Qatar. Chinese people in the PRC rank 13th in resource usage. The population of Qatar is about 1.7 million; population of China is greater than 1.34 billion.

Top 10 Resource Users by Individuals(from WWF report)
·         Qatar
·         Kuwait
·         United Arab Emirates
·         Denmark
·         United States of America
·         Belgium
·         Australia
·         Canada
·         Netherlands
·         Ireland
Many of the rich countries literally mine the resources of the poorer ones, leaving the residents there with less and less materials to survive.

While it may sound hopeless at this stage, we can each do our part to help the degradation of our Blue Planet. Here are some suggestions.

·         Reduce what you buy, consume less meat and increase your vegetables.
·         Consume and manufacture smarter, more efficiently using less energy and fewer materials
·         Protect local biodiversity, volunteer to help remove invasive species
·         Follow the money you as taxpayers are sending to other countries. Does the money contribute to big business exporting pollution overseas?
·         Develop a more global view. Remember the photos of Earth from space – the big blue marble. We are all in this together.

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