The world’s biodiversity is down 30 percent since the 1970s, according to a new report, with tropical species taking the biggest hit. And if humanity continues as it has been, the picture could get bleaker.
Humanity is outstripping the Earth’s resources by 50 percent — essentially using the resources of one and a half Earths every year, according to the 2012 Living Planet Report, produced by conservation agency the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Humanity is essentially in debt to Mother Earth, conservationists find. As of 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, humans were outstripping Earth’s biocapacity by 50 percent. Biocapacity is the amount of renewable resources, land, and waste absorption (such as sinks for carbon dioxide) the Earth can provide. In other words, it takes the planet 1.5 years to restore what humanity burns through in a year.
All of this resource use is taking a toll. The Living Planet report also tracks biodiversity and species populations across the globe. This year’s report details a startling loss of biodiversity around the globe: A loss of 30 percent of biodiversity on average, meaning a major decline in the number of different species of plants, animals and other organisms.
Many of the group’s proposed solutions to humanity’s out-of-control resource use center around Rio+20, the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development set for June 20, 2012. The meeting is designed to help create pathways for sustainable development in the future, said Kate Newman, WWF’s managing director of public sector initiatives.
“As we’re approaching a planet with 9 billion people on it, we need to find a global solution,” Loucks said. “The challenge for us is this is a long-term problem. This is the Earth for millennia. We need to move beyond the election cycle, beyond the quarterly report cycle.”
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Source: Yahoo News