2012 Living Planet Report

Photograph from space showing a view of the sun shining on Earth.

Photograph from space showing a view of the sun shining on Earth.
© NASA

We may not recognize it, but virtually every decision we make comes with a price to our planet—a small, but not insignificant, withdrawal of the earth’s resources. Added together, these withdrawals represent our environmental footprint.

WWF’s 2012 Living Planet Report highlights the cumulative pressure we are putting on the planet and the resulting decline in the health of our forests, rivers and oceans.

We are living as if we have the resources of an extra planet at our disposal. We’re using 50 percent more resources than the Earth can provide, and unless we change course that number will grow very fast—by 2030, even two planets will not be enough.

The Living Planet Report finds:

• Biodiversity continues to be lost: Populations of species continue to decline, with tropical and freshwater species experiencing the biggest declines. Learn more

• The U.S. has the fifth largest ecological footprint in terms of the amount of resources each person annually consumes. We rank only behind Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Denmark in the global rankings of the Ecological Footprint. Learn more

• Resource scarcity is already being experienced across the globe, as 2.7 billion people around the world already are forced to cope with water scarcity during at least one month a year.

WWF’s Solutions

Despite these challenges, we can create a prosperous future that provides food, water and energy for the 9 or 10 billion people who will be sharing the planet in 2050.

WWF urges governments at Rio+20 to start valuing nature in order to ensure food, water, and energy security. With the impact of our ecological footprint in mind, we must protect our natural resources while providing socio-economic benefits and allowing for sustainable development.

The challenge of sustaining life on an increasingly crowded planet is growing more complicated every day. How do we feed a growing global population and still maintain a living planet? WWF works to provide recommendations, that when taken together, could enable farms to feed 10 billion people and keep Earth habitable.

How You Can Help

Help protect our planet. Your actions don’t need to be huge or require large sacrifices. Small actions can make a big difference. Some actions include:

• Join WWF’s free Conservation Action Network, and help make a difference. We’ll send you email action alerts on breaking issues and let you send personalized messages to policy makers. You can track which actions you’ve taken and learn about your victories. Sign up today!

• Think about what you buy and where you buy it. Look for labels that identify food and other consumer goods produced with minimal or no negative impact on the environment or society. And if you can’t see a label, ask the store where the product came from and how it was made. Global labels and certifications that aim to protect forests, oceans, land and waterways include:

Forest Stewardship Council
Marine Stewardship Council
Bonsucro – Better Sugar Cane Initiative
Roundtable on Certified Sustainable Palm Oil
Roundtable on Responsible Soy
Aquaculture Stewardship Council

Learn More

Read the Full Report
Read the Executive Summary

Measuring Our Ecological Footprint
Living Planet Index: The Health of the Planet’s Ecosystems
How Businesses Can Help
Watch a Video: Astronaut Reviews the Report from Space

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