An Achievable Goal
24 Nov 2008
“A green and sustainable world is not an unachievable goal,” says the Living Planet Report.
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The Living Planet Report 2008
‘The human species is remarkably adept at both creating and solving problems. A green and sustainable world is not an unachievable goal: all the solutions are there in front of us and within our grasp, given the personal and political commitment of individuals.’
This statement is the conclusion of the latest Living Planet Report ñ the WWF’s 2008 update on the state of the world’s ecosystems. The Report is compiled by the Zoological Society of London and the Ecological Footprint ñ a measure of the average land, sea, air and fresh water used up per person per country and the area available to produce resources and capture emissions.
The Report suggests that the world is headed for an ecological credit crunch, unless we all act now. It calculates that humans are consuming a third more of our natural resources than the Earth can replenish each year. So, there are many serious challenges to be addressed.
Globally, while diversity continues to decline, increasing areas are deprived of water. Present population growth trends and our consumption levels need to be kerbed or, the Report predicts, by 2030, we humans will need two planets in order to maintain our lifestyles.
‘This recent downturn in the global economy is a stark reminder of living beyond our means,’ says James Leape, Director General of WWF International. ‘The possibility of financial recession pales in comparison to the looming ecological credit crunch, which is caused by undervaluing environmental assets ñ the basis of all life and prosperity.’
However, the Report is not all doom and gloom. We can choose, it reminds us, to create sustainable societies that live in harmony with robust ecosystems. To achieve this, urgent change is essential. We must rein in our consumption and preserve, protect and nurture the natural resources we still have left.
The Living Planet Report declares that an Ecosystem Approach’ is the only way forward. This internationally accepted strategy will integrate sustainable Earth management with the Planet’s millennia-old natural cycles, functions and essential processes. It advocates that all governments, the private sector and the public must collaborate. ‘Politicians now need to turn their collective action to a more pressing concern than the economy and that’s the survival of all life on Planet Earth,’ says Chief Emeka Anyaoku, the president of WWF International.
Young girl collects water from the Serepok River in a poor commune in Vietnam’s Central Highlands
Photo: © Elizabeth Kemf / WWF
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