PLUNDERING THE EARTH’S RESOURCES
Earth’s population will be forced to colonize two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate.
Using the image of the need for mankind to colonize space as a stark illustration of the problems facing Earth, the report warns that either consumption rates are dramatically and rapidly lowered or the planet will no longer be able to sustain its growing population.
Experts say that seas will become emptied of fish while forests – which absorb carbon dioxide emissions – are completely destroyed and freshwater supplies become scarce and polluted.
The world’s ticking time bomb
North Atlantic cod stocks have collapsed from an estimated 264,000 tones in 1970 to under 60,000 in 1995.
The United States places the greatest pressure on the environment, with its carbon dioxide emissions and over-consumption. It takes 12.2 hectares of land to support each American citizen and 6.29 for each Briton, while the figure for Burundi is just half a hectare.
Between 1970 and 2002 forest cover has dwindled by 12 per cent.
African elephant numbers have fallen from 1.2 million in 1980 to half a million now. In the UK the songbird population has fallen dramatically, with the corn bunting declining by 92 per cent in the past 30 years.