Biodiversity declines as global consumption reaches all-time high

The biennial publication, produced in collaboration with the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, was launched today from the International Space Station

Jonathan Baillie, conservation programme director with the '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.”

The report's key findings are:

  • Biodiversity has declined by up to 30% since 1970, with 60% of this decline in the tropics
  • It currently takes 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 planet's resources at the same global rate, by 2030 we will need 2 planets to support the world’s population
  • The ecological footprint of a high income country such as the USA is currently five times greater than that of a low income country like Indonesia
  • The UK has risen five places in global consumption ranking, and is now the 27th largest consumer of resources
  • The top 10 countries with the biggest Ecological Footprint per person are: Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, United States of America, Belgium, Australia, Canada, Netherlands and Ireland

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.

Find out more about the 2012 Living Planet Report
and ZSL and WWF presenting the Report at Rio +20 this year.

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