One Earth just doesn't cut it anymore. As our population grows and we continue to consume resources at an alarming rate, we’ll need the equivalent of a second Earth by 2030 to maintain our current lifestyle. That’s the finding of the latest report from the World Wildlife Fund. And since we don’t have a spare lying around, it’s time to make a drastic change.The WWF, in conjunction with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, released The Living Planet Report 2008, which projects humanity’s ecological footprint relative to the Earth’s biocapacity. And, after looking at factors such as deforestation, water consumption, pollution, climate change, and overexploitation of wildlife, the findings are dire:
Our global footprint now exceeds the world’s capacity to regenerate by about 30 per cent. If our demands on the planet continue at the same rate, by the mid-2030s we will need the equivalent of two planets to maintain our lifestyles. And this year’s report captures, for the first time, the impact of our consumption on the Earth’s water resources and our vulnerability to water scarcity in many areas.
But the report isn’t entirely pessimistic. The WWF believes that humanity can alter the path of overconsumption and, by turning toward sustainable practices, close the gap between mankind’s ecological footprint and the Earth’s biocapacity:
The good news is that we have the means to reverse the ecological credit crunch – it is not too late to prevent an irreversible ecological recession setting in. This report identifies the key areas where we need to transform our lifestyles and economies to put us on a more sustainable trajectory.