Humans consuming planet’s resources at unprecedented rate, warns WWF

Humans are consuming the planet’s resources 25 percent faster than the earth can renew them, a rate “unprecedented in human history,” the World Wildlife Fund said today in its 2006 Living Planet Report. If we keep it up, we’ll need two planets’ worth of natural resources by mid-century, and “exhaustion of ecological assets and large-scale ecosystem collapse become increasingly likely,” says the report. The United Arab Emirates is stressing the planet most per capita, followed by the U.S., Finland, and Canada. Humanity’s ecological footprint more than tripled between 1961 and 2003, outpacing the global population, which more than doubled in that time period. Pollution, deforestation, habitat loss, and overfishing have caused the populations of many species to decline by about a third since 1970, WWF said. But hey, good news — if we reduce carbon dioxide emissions and fish catches by a full 50 percent, we could break even in resource use by 2080!