Report Warns of Threats to Planet's Health

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) — A cautionary report by the World Wildlife Fund says humanity’s consumption of natural resources is heading toward 50 percent more than the Earth can sustain.

The organization’s biennial Living Planet Report produces a Living Planet Index based on measurements of the health of more than 8,000 populations of 2,500 of the world’s species, reported.

The WWF Index shows a population decrease of 30 percent since 1970, with the tropics even harder hit with a 60 percent decline in less than 40 years, the report says.

The figures should be viewed with alarm by all nations of the world, the WWF says.

“There is an alarming rate of biodiversity loss in low-income, often tropical countries while the developed world is living in a false paradise, fueled by excessive consumption and high carbon emissions,” Jim Leape, director general of WWF International, said.

The decline in populations of tropical species have been greater than any species’ decline measured on land or in the oceans, the report said.

“Species are the foundation of ecosystems,” said Jonathan Baillie, conservation program director with the Zoological Society of London, which collaborated in the report. “Healthy ecosystems form the basis of all we have — lose them and we destroy our life support system.”

Leape says the challenge posed by the Living Planet Report “is clear.”

“Somehow we need to find a way to meet the needs of a growing and increasingly prosperous population within the resources of this one planet,” Leape said.

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