The WWF’s Living Planet Report released this week should act as an immediate catalyst for global change – now before we, as the occupants of this planet, drive our ecosystems over the tipping edge of irreparable decline.
The numbers in the report are staggering.
In the drive to sustain the $125 trillion a year explosion of human consumption we have, since 1970, devastated 60% of the vertebrate species on Earth.
Our oceans have given up 6 billion tons of fish since 1950. Freshwater species have declined by 83% since 1970.
Natural forests, the greatest source of biodiversity, are in a rapid decline.
Human activity is in all but 25% of the global surface and is predicted to decline to just 10% by 2050.
The systems we rely on most to sustain us are the very systems that are under threat.
The consumptive human drive is fuelled fundamentally by the need for energy, water and land.
Everything we have, manufacture, build, eat and drink is drawn from nature and yet we fail miserably to restore the balance, to act as if we are in a true symbiotic relationship with the organism that is our planet.
Our oceans are polluted with plastic, our rivers filled with chemicals and effluent.
Our farmland is doused in pesticides. Our factories are pumping out corrosive gases.
Our planet is warming. We are water-scarce. Resources are unequally distributed. Competition is fierce and uncompromising.
We are, like a parasitic virus, consuming our living host.
In the next 50 years the world will be unrecognisable from today.
We will either be working to restore that which we have selfishly exploited, or we will be on the brink of collapse as a society.
Each and every one of us must act now to stop the planet’s destruction.