Humans currently consume 20% more natural resources than the earth can produce
Humans currently consume 20% more natural resources than the earth can produce, says a new report that examines the ecological effect of modern consumption patterns on natural resources.
The 'ecological footprint' of a North American is eight times the size of the average African's, and an average European draws about four times as much of the earth's resources as the average Asian, states the WWF's 'Living Planet Report 2004' launched in Brussels yesterday.
Humanity had already gone beyond the earth's capacity by the end of the eighties and we're now, "spending nature's capital much faster than it can regenerate," says WWF director-general Claude Martin, quoted in an Inter Press Service Agency report.
And while the human population keeps growing, the population of 'other' species is plummeting.
"The depletion is caused by an increasing demand for energy and natural resources, the report says.
Particularly alarming is our energy footprint, dominated by our use of fossil oils such as coal, gas and oil, the conservation group says, according to ISP, whihc adds the 'footprint' is a rough estimate of what an average person produces and consumes, converted into hectares. It measures how much land and water area a human population requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb its wastes, given prevailing technology.
This is said to have increased 700% since 1961.
See: eight times - A Footprint About a Fifth Too Large, Inter Pree Service Agency, October 21, 2004