Biodiversity declines as global consumption reaches all-time high

May 15, 2012, Zoological Society of London
Biodiversity declines as global consumption reaches all-time high
Credit: nsstc.uah.edu

Our ever-growing demand for resources is putting huge pressure on the planet’s biodiversity according to the Living Planet Report 2012, released today by WWF in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network.

Jonathan Baillie, conservation programme director for ZSL said: “This report is like a planetary check-up and the results indicate we have a very sick planet. Ignoring this diagnosis will have major implications for humanity. We can restore the planet’s health, but only through addressing the root causes, population growth and over-consumption.”

Some of the report's key findings are:

• Biodiversity has declined by up to 30% since 1970. 60% of this decline has taken place in the tropics

• It is currently taking 1.5 years for the Earth to absorb the CO2 produced and regenerate the renewable resources that people use within one year

• 2.7 Billion people live in areas that experience severe water shortages for at least one month a year

• If we continue to consume the resources at the same global rate, by 2030 we will need 2 planets to support the world’s population

According to the global Living Planet Index , declines in biodiversity are highest in low income countries, demonstrating how the poorest and most vulnerable nations are subsidizing the lifestyles of wealthier countries.

Many of ZSL's conservation programmes address these urgent issues and hope to mediate between human consumption and biodiversity. We are working to conserve threatened wildlife in some of the poorest countries in the world, such as our work with Bengal tigers in Bangladesh and Sumatran tigers in Indonesia . ZSL is also one of the leading organisations in marine conservation, with initiatives such as Project Seahorse and Project Ocean. We are working on reducing the damage of human resource use through our Oil Palm and project in Indonesia.

Explore further: WWF says over-consumption threatens planet

More information: Find out more about ZSL and WWF's presenting the 2012 Living Planet Report at Rio +20 this year

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