The toll of human activity on the world's wildlife population over the past 40 years is devastating. The World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) recently released "2014 Living Planet Report" shows that between 1970 and 2010, the population of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish around the globe has dropped a shocking 52 percent.
The report measures trends in three major areas: populations of more than ten thousand vertebrate species; human ecological footprint, a measure of consumption of goods, greenhouse gas emissions; and existing biocapacity, the amount of natural resources for producing food, freshwater, and sequestering carbon.
The report says that the majority of high-income countries are increasingly consuming more per person than the planet can accommodate; maintaining per capita ecological footprints greater than the amount of biocapacity available per person. People in middle- and low-income countries have seen little increase in their per capita footprints over the same time period.
The report underscores that the declining trends are not inevitable. To achieve globally sustainable development, each country’s per capita ecological footprint must be less than the per capita biocapacity available on the planet, while maintaining a decent standard of living.
At the conclusion of the report, WWF recommends three things:
- Accelerate shift to smarter food and energy production
- Reduce ecological footprint through responsible consumption at the personal, corporate and government levels
- Value natural capital as a cornerstone of policy and development decisions
Read more about the WWF's "2014 Living Planet Report" here >>