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NATURAL RESOURCES DEFICIT THE BASIS OF NEW REPORT

FULLY THREE QUARTERS OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION LIVES IN COUNTRIES WHERE THE RESIDENTS CONSUME MORE NATURAL RESOURCES THAN THEIR NATION HAS THE CAPACITY TO PRODUCE.

From the too scary to contemplate file comes a new report from the World Wildlife Foundation, the Zoological Society of London and the Global Footprint Network, warning that fully three quarters of the world’s population lives in countries where the residents consume more natural resources than their nation has the capacity to produce.

To put it another way, what this means is that three quarters of us are only able to sustain our standard of living by drawing on the agricultural land, forests, seas and resources of other countries.

What’s more, the report tells us, the deficit has grown to such an extent that we now need 1/3 more natural resource capacity then the entire planet is capable of producing. Extrapolate these numbers twenty years in the future and it really gets frightening as by then the experts predict we will need a second planet of the size and capacity of earth just to sustain life.

The report concludes that this reckless consumption of “natural capital” is endangering the world’s future prosperity, with clear economic impacts including high costs for food, water and energy.

Just what we need, more good news.

- – Denis

This report is based on data from two indicators:

The Living Planet Index – assesses the health of the planet’s ecosystems;

Ecological Footprint – measures human demand on the natural world.

The Living Planet Index tracked the population of 1,313 vertebrate species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals from around the world.

It found that these species had declined by about 30% since 1970, suggesting that natural ecosystems were being degraded at an unprecedented rate.

The Ecological Footprint measured the amount of biologically productive land and water to meet the demand for food, timber, shelter, and absorb the pollution from human activity.

The report concluded that the global footprint exceeded the earth’s biocapacity by 25% in 2003, which meant that the Earth could no longer keep up with the demands being placed upon it.

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