We Are Deficit Spending Earth’s Resources, WWF Says

October 14, 2010

(ChattahBox Science News) — Skeptics who have been waiting for proof that the world is running out of natural resources can now look to a new World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report indicating that we are using 50 percent more of Earth’s resources than the planet can provide—and most of those are being depleted by wealthy countries.The WWF measured each country’s “ecological footprint” and found that the rate of human consumption “has doubled in under 50 years, meaning rainforests are being cut down, the seas overfished, and grassland ploughed up for farming,” according to an article in the UK’s Telegraph.

Tropical species such as tigers, gorillas, and turtles, among thousands of others, are at risk of extinction, with their numbers down by 60 percent since 1970. Tropical freshwater wildlife rates have fallen by 70 percent. Overall, the WWF determined that 2,500 species in 8,000 populations worldwide have fallen by 30 percent, the Telegraph reports.

The one caveat is that species in temperate climates are increasing in numbers, due in part to prosperous countries such as Britain working to protect species. The more wealthy nations have worked to protect their own environments while exploiting those of poorer countries, said David Nussbaum, the UK’s WWF chief.

Eating foods with lower carbon footprints will help the problem, but government intervention is necessary to help curb practices wherein rich countries buy land in poorer regions to grow their crops, Nussbaum said.


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