We are increasingly aware of efforts by local and international governments to stablise and prevent environmental change, global conventions with associated financial backing to discuss, debate and review global environmental matters. Yet despite all efforts of the past few decades, the latest Living Planet Report by WWF confirms that the global environment is continuing to deteriorate.
The reasons for the environment’s continued worsening state are familiar to us, and are the same reasons given for environmental degradation over the past few decades, namely:
- continued global population growth with associated increasing energy demands;
- continued expansion of urban areas due to prolonged migration to cities; and
- uncontrolled carbon dioxide emissions.
The WWF’s recent report estimated that our demand for natural resources has doubled since 1996, and that by 2030, the global population will require two planets to satisfy our resource hunger.
WWF’s report highlights a major concern: despite the global environmental efforts and increased public awareness, industry changes and government policies, environmental degradation has accelerated in the past two decades.
Despite what we believe were environmental-orientated decades, the past two decades saw a 40% increase in carbon dioxide emissions, but most concerning: up to two-thirds of this 40% were recorded in the past decade.
The importance of biodiversity are often described, particularly in context of resource protection, natural cycles and environmental disaster control. Biodiversity conservation for future well-being are vital. The Living Planet Report noted a positive biodiversity conservation improvement in developed countries – the biodiversity index for developed countries has increased by 7% since the 1970s. Unfortunately, a very different scenario is present in the developing countries. The biodiversity index of developing countries reduced by a significant 60%. The often harsh environmental conditions of developing countries and the high dependency of these populations on the natural environment, are reasons for this significant drop, which will possibly not be turned around again.
Finally, WWF’s report concluded with a potential positive influence: the global population rate is declining, with a drop from 1.65% to 1.2% noted since 1992. Population growth resulting in last year’s global population size of 7 billion, is said to curb in the current century and we should start to note a decline in the global population size.
With WWF’s recent publishing of the eight Living Planet Report and the dire details of this report, all eyes will be on next month’s Rio+20 Summit, for concrete and final decisions on how the global population can turn this situation around.