— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 30, 2014
Hey, if you’re not dumb enough to lose your mind over the ebola, the WWF wants to make sure you’re properly depressed about the future. And they have the datasets to make the most depressing charts & graphs…
… The latest analysis was done by scientists at the wildlife group WWF, the Zoological Society of London and other organizations. Based on an analysis of thousands of vertebrate species, it concludes that overall animal populations fell by 52% between 1970 and 2010.
The decline was seen everywhere—in rivers, on land and in the seas—and is mainly the result of increased habitat destruction, commercial fishing and hunting, the report said. Climate change is also believed to be a factor, though its consequences are harder to measure….
The fastest declines were seen in rivers and other freshwaters systems, where populations have fallen 76% since 1970. By comparison, terrestrial and marine populations each fell 39%. While biodiversity continues to decline in both temperate and tropical parts of the world, the downward trend is greater in the tropics.
The most dramatic decline was in Latin America, where overall populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish fell 83%. Asia-Pacific wasn’t too far behind, though.
The new findings are calculated using the WWF’s “Living Planet Index,” a measure of biodiversity based on trends in 10,000 populations of about 3,000 animal species…
The report analyzes sustainability by calculating a global “ecological footprint,” which measures the area required to supply the ecological goods and services we use. It concludes that humanity currently needs the regenerative capacity of 1.5 Earths to supply these goods and services each year.
The study says: “This ‘overshoot’ is possible because—for now—we can cut trees faster than they mature, harvest more fish than the oceans can replenish, or emit more carbon into the atmosphere than the forests and oceans can absorb.” Since the 1990s, we have reached that overshoot by the ninth month of each year, it adds.
“It’s a very loud wake-up call,” said Carter Roberts, president and chief executive officer of WWF U.S., in an interview. “As we lose natural capital, people lose the ability to feed themselves and to provide for their families—it increases instability exponentially. When that happens, it ceases to be a local problem and becomes a global one.”
More detail at the link. I assume the WSJ pundits will now find some MBAs to call it right-sizing a grossly inefficient overstock of environmental units? Or streamlining inventory per best JIT management practices?
(And, yes, Ebola infection in humans is the result of environmental degradation in desperately poor tropical climes. Synergy!)