- GLAND, Switzerland -- People
are plundering the world's resources at a pace that outstrips the planet's
capacity to sustain life, the environmental group WWF said Thursday.
- In its annual Living Planet Report, the World Wide Fund
for Nature said humans currently consume 20 per cent more natural resources
than Earth can produce, and that populations of terrestrial, freshwater
and marine species fell by an average of 40 per cent between 1970 and
- "We are spending nature's capital faster than it
can regenerate," WWF chief Claude Martin said. "We are running
up an ecological debt which we won't be able to pay off unless governments
restore the balance between our consumption of natural resources and the
Earth's ability to renew them."
- Consumption of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil
increased by almost 700 per cent between 1961 and 2001, the conservation
- "It is of pressing importance that governments,
industry and the public switch to renewable energies and promote
technologies, buildings and transport systems," it said.
- The "ecological footprint" - or environmental
impact - of the planet's 6.1 billion-strong population is alarming, with
people in the West the worst culprits, said WWF in its 40-page
- The footprint of an average North American is double
that of a European but seven times that of the average Asian or African.
The report warned of increasing pressure on the planet's resources amid
spiralling consumption in Asia.
- "Sustainable living and a high quality of life are
not incompatible," said Jonathan Loh, one of the authors of the
- "However, we need to stop wasting natural resources
and to redress the imbalance in consumption between the developing and
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