Humanity's demand exceeds
our planet's capacity
We need 1.5 Earths to meet the demands we currently make on our planet. Your support will help us take bold action now to build a sustainable future for everyone.
Discover how we are all connected –
to one another and to our planet.
1 Humanity's challenge
© Philip Tapsall / WWF-India
Environmental changes affect us all
The way we meet our needs today is compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
Our very existence depends on healthy ecosystems and the services they supply: clean water, a liveable climate, food, fuel and fertile soils. The challenge of providing everyone with the food, water and energy they need is already a daunting prospect, and human population is projected to swell to over 9 billion by 2050.
The choices we are making every day have an impact on the planet and its inhabitants. It is imperative to take steps to ensure that all future development is sustainable.
2 Food, water and energy: our lifelines
© Brent Stirton / Reportage for Getty Images / WWF
We’re demanding more than nature can supply
We cut trees faster than they mature, harvest more fish than the ocean can replenish, and emit more carbon into the atmosphere than forests and the ocean can absorb. In 2014, we used more natural resources in eight months than the planet can produce in 12 months. For the remainder of the year, we borrowed resources from future generations.
When we overburden one resource, the effects are felt elsewhere. Consider the links between food, water and energy security. Their interdependence means that efforts to secure one aspect can destabilize others – attempts to boost agricultural productivity, for example, may lead to increased demands for water and energy inputs, and impact biodiversity and ecosystem services.
It’s a cycle: The way we meet our needs affects the health of ecosystems, and the health of ecosystems affects our ability to meet these needs. This is equally relevant for the poorest rural communities – who often rely directly on nature for their livelihoods – as for the world’s great cities, which are increasingly vulnerable to threats like flooding and pollution as a result of environmental degradation.
3 One Planet Solutions
© Philip Tapsall / WWF-India
We all need nutritious food, fresh water and clean air – wherever in the world we live.
Progress has been made in recent years in quantifying the financial value of the natural capital that underpins our economies and societies. Although any valuation of ecosystem services is a “gross underestimate of infinity,” such valuations can help make an economic case for conserving nature and living sustainably. WWF’s “One Planet Perspective” takes this a step further and outlines better choices for managing, using and sharing natural resources within the planet’s limits.
The task is difficult, certainly, but not impossible – because it is in ourselves, who have caused the problem, that we can find the solution.
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