The number of humans on Earth has risen dramatically over the past two centuries, and our population—now over 7 billion—continues to grow. Meanwhile, we are consuming more per capita than ever before. The non-profit Global Footprint Network calculates that “it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year”—an ecological overshoot with profound implications for the other residents of the planet. All over the globe, animal and plant species are going extinct at an alarming rate, and we are the primary cause. According to renowned Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, “Today as human populations expand and alter the natural environment, they are reducing biological diversity to its lowest level since the end of the Mesozoic era, 65 million years ago.”
Population and Consumption, a new brochure from AWI, looks at the factors that contribute to our enormous impact on global biodiversity, and what we can do to lighten our footprint and become better neighbors to the countless other inhabitants of Planet Earth. The brochure is available for order or download at www.awionline.org/population.