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focus
Oct 24th, 2006, 05:30 PM
Humans living far beyond planet's means

(Reuters) -

Humans are stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and will need two planets' worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends, the WWF conservation group said on Tuesday.

Populations of many species, from fish to mammals, had fallen by about a third from 1970 to 2003 largely because of human threats such as pollution, clearing of forests and overfishing, the group also said in a two-yearly report.

"For more than 20 years we have exceeded the earth's ability to support a consumptive lifestyle that is unsustainable and we cannot afford to continue down this path," WWF Director-General James Leape said, launching the WWF's 2006 Living Planet Report.

"If everyone around the world lived as those in America, we would need five planets to support us," Leape, an American, said in Beijing.

People in the United Arab Emirates were placing most stress per capita on the planet ahead of those in the United States, Finland and Canada, the report said.

Australia was also living well beyond its means.

The average Australian used 6.6 "global" hectares to support their developed lifestyle, ranking behind the United States and Canada, but ahead of the United Kingdom, Russia, China and Japan.

"If the rest of the world led the kind of lifestyles we do here in Australia, we would require three-and-a-half planets to provide the resources we use and to absorb the waste," said Greg Bourne, WWF-Australia chief executive officer.

Everyone would have to change lifestyles -- cutting use of fossil fuels and improving management of everything from farming to fisheries.

"As countries work to improve the well-being of their people, they risk bypassing the goal of sustainability," said Leape, speaking in an energy-efficient building at Beijing's prestigous Tsinghua University.

"It is inevitable that this disconnect will eventually limit the abilities of poor countries to develop and rich countries to maintain their prosperity," he added.

The report said humans' "ecological footprint" -- the demand people place on the natural world -- was 25 percent greater than the planet's annual ability to provide everything from food to energy and recycle all human waste in 2003.

In the previous report, the 2001 overshoot was 21 percent.

"On current projections humanity, will be using two planets' worth of natural resources by 2050 -- if those resources have not run out by then," the latest report said.

"People are turning resources into waste faster than nature can turn waste back into resources."

RISING POPULATION

"Humanity's footprint has more than tripled between 1961 and 2003," it said. Consumption has outpaced a surge in the world's population, to 6.5 billion from 3 billion in 1960. U.N. projections show a surge to 9 billion people around 2050.

It said that the footprint from use of fossil fuels, whose heat-trapping emissions are widely blamed for pushing up world temperatures, was the fastest-growing cause of strain.

Leape said China, home to a fifth of the world's population and whose economy is booming, was making the right move in pledging to reduce its energy consumption by 20 percent over the next five years.

"Much will depend on the decisions made by China, India and other rapidly developing countries," he added.

The WWF report also said that an index tracking 1,300 vetebrate species -- birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals -- showed that populations had fallen for most by about 30 percent because of factors including a loss of habitats to farms.

Among species most under pressure included the swordfish and the South African Cape vulture. Those bucking the trend included rising populations of the Javan rhinoceros and the northern hairy-nosed wombat in Australia.

howdawg
Oct 24th, 2006, 06:58 PM
Absolutely amazing article

focus
Oct 24th, 2006, 09:29 PM
:) Glad you liked it howdawg, I thought it may be too long a read to hold much interest. I thought it was a great, though sad, read.

Get an idea of where you rank in the grand scheme of things:
http://www.earthday.net/footprint/index.asp

Roxy
Oct 25th, 2006, 01:26 AM
Wow!! Interesting reading. Thanks for posting, Focus.

We all need to be encouraged to follow the 3 R's more.

Reduce
Re-use
Recycle.

Seaside
Oct 25th, 2006, 02:08 AM
:) Get an idea of where you rank in the grand scheme of things:
http://www.earthday.net/footprint/index.asp
I scored 8.

Risker
Oct 25th, 2006, 03:59 AM
2.3 for me

sandra
Oct 25th, 2006, 10:10 AM
I'm 2.2

Imapeach
Oct 25th, 2006, 11:48 AM
1.6

IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 7.6 GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 1.8 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 1.0 PLANETS.

Excuse me while I gloat :D
So I guess that means there's an upside to being poor and single! :p

LittleNellColumbia
Oct 25th, 2006, 11:17 PM
.

Seaside
Oct 26th, 2006, 12:01 AM
Wow, the Australian average is low! The average in the USA is 24.

StarShine
Oct 29th, 2006, 04:15 PM
My footprint is 1.8. I feel kinda proud. :D

I think better use of energy and would have lowed it. I like my heaters. It's cold here right now. But to make up for it I steam my foods most of the time instead of using a stove. And I use the microwave as well. I also buy the basics that have very little packaging. Like a big bag dried beans. I try to stay away from canned goods, and especially commercial refined goods in the BIG, FANCY, PACKAGING. Yuck. :(

Nicola
Oct 31st, 2006, 01:26 PM
1.9 for me

but i know there's alot more that i could do, guess now's a good a time as any to start! :D

auntierozzi
Oct 31st, 2006, 06:12 PM
I scored 5. I depend on the car too much. We live far away from everything and walk much less than when we were living in the city. Also, lost points on air miles...Hope to improve on this.

howdawg
Oct 31st, 2006, 06:21 PM
I scored a 12!! But most of it was because I live in a large house...

Beancakes
Jan 7th, 2007, 12:30 AM
TOTAL FOOTPRINT 0.7 (food was 0.5 ! i should rely on local produce a bit more, make my own noodles etc.)

WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 1.8 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 8.8 GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 1.0 PLANETS.:D

VeganLiz
Feb 2nd, 2007, 04:19 AM
Eeek - mine was 3.3 but I think that might be mainly as I have to drive to work and also wasnt sure about the house size and petrol consumption of car

Liz : 0 )

LuC
Feb 2nd, 2007, 11:12 AM
very cool article focus!

I was a little disappointed with my score because I take my footprint on the environment quite seriously. I think the fact that I live in a house (although it is not a big one) and have to drive to work contributes a great deal.

FOOD 0.5

MOBILITY 0.2

SHELTER 1.1

GOODS/SERVICES 1

TOTAL FOOTPRINT 2.8



IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY (Canada) IS 8.8 GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 1.8 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE GLOBAL HECTARES PER PERSON.

IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 1.6 PLANETS.

eve
Feb 3rd, 2007, 12:07 AM
Mine is 3.2, possibly because I use my car every day, though for short journeys.

fiamma
Feb 4th, 2007, 10:38 AM
3.7. I use the car instead of public transport, because the latter is virtually non-existant. Also waste - I find supermarkets force you to be wasteful (too much packaging), non matter how hard you try to avoid it.

Roxy
Feb 5th, 2007, 05:03 AM
Do you mean the products themselves, fiamma, or the grocery bags?

I use re-useable cloth grocery bags and I love them!

fiamma
Feb 5th, 2007, 10:52 AM
Often they pack veggies on plastic trays and there's no loose veg alternative. Also here they make you put on a plastic glove to pick your veg. And if you need electrical goods - batteries, adaptors, they use a lot of plastic. I'm like you with the grocery bags - I use cloth ones.

rujoon
Feb 5th, 2007, 12:32 PM
Hmm... I can't do. There's no Singapore on the map at all :eek: although my home country's there :)

kelly
Feb 10th, 2007, 01:04 PM
Category Global Hectares

Food 0.6

Mobility 0

Shelter 0.4

Goods/services 0.5

Total Footprint 1.5

Gorilla
Feb 10th, 2007, 07:43 PM
here they make you put on a plastic glove to pick your veg.

:eek: