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We need a second earth, says Living Planet Report


Picture of a poisonous frog (Oophaga pumilio) taken in one of the gardens of a private hotel near La Fortuna, in the Costa Rican rainforest some 110 km northwest of San Jose, on April 5, 2010.


Yuri Cortez

Humans are using a planet and a half worth of natural resources, according to the World Wildlife Fund's annual Living Planet report.

The report said, "During the 1970s, humanity as a whole passed the point at which the annual Ecological Footprint matched the Earth’s annual biocapacity. This situation is called “ecological overshoot”, and has continued since then. An overshoot of 50 percent means it would take 1.5 years for the Earth to regenerate the renewable resources that people used in 2007 and absorb CO2 waste."

The report measured humanity's ecological footprint to evaluate how we use our resources. It was measured by adding the six environmental components, carbon, grazing, forest, fishing, cropland and built-up land.

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"Both the Ecological Footprint (which represents demand for resources) and biocapacity (which represents the availability of resources) are expressed in units called global hectares (gha), with 1gha representing the productive capacity of 1ha of land at world average productivity," said the report. 

According to, "People required 18.2 billion hectares (45 billion acres) of land by 2008, with 12 billion productive hectares available. About 55 percent of land needed was for forest to absorb carbon dioxide emissions."

This means, the Earth takes one and a half years to regenerate the natural resources used by humans each year.

The reported noted some countries are doing worse than others. pointed out its country's own shortcomings by reporting Australia has the seventh largest environmental impact. They said, "Australia comes seventh behind Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Denmark, the United States and Belgium - one spot worse than in the last report in 2010. If everyone lived like the average Australian, it would take 3.76 planets to support the world's population."

The report also found global biodiversity has declined globally by about 30 percent since 1970, according to the Huffington Post, with a 60 percent loss in the tropics. 

Colby Loucks, WWF's director of conservation science, told the Huffington Post, that using the resources of one and a half planets is, "akin to buying on credit." He said, "nature can no longer be seen as an object of luxury." 

In the report WWF International Director General Jim Leape said, “We are 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.”

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