WWF released their 2010 Living Planet report last week. This report calculates humanity’s “ecological footprint” – the amount of resources we use and the amount of waste we create. The findings are a stark reminder that we need to change the way we live and the choices we make.
We are living beyond the capacity of the planet, pumping more CO2 than the earth can absorb, using up resources quicker than they can be regenerated. If we continue this rate of consumption by 2030 we would need two planets to sustain us.
But we only have one.
“Humanity’s demands exceed our planet’s capacity to sustain us. That is, we ask for more than we have.”
“The unprecedented drive for wealth and well-being of the past 40 years is putting unsustainable pressures on our planet” WWF Director General James Leape.
These are some hard facts from the report:
• 2 million tons of sewerage and effluent drain into the world’s water every day
• 1.8 billion people use the Internet, but 1 billion people do not have access to clean water
• It takes 140 litres of water to produce a cup of black coffee
• It takes 200 litres of water for a latte with sugar
• There are more tigers in captivity than in the wild
• Developing countries dump 70% of untreated industrial waste into water sources
• Billions of people get their drinking water directly from rivers and lakes
• 70% of commercial marine fish are threatened from over fishing
• The world’s carbon output has increased by 11 times since 1961
• 13 million hectares of forest were destroyed between 2000 and 2010; 15% of carbon emissions come from deforestation
• Subsidies in energy, fishing and agriculture drive over consumption and are harmful to humanity
• Our survival means making fundamental changes to our economies
• To live sustainable we need to make big changes in energy and food
• It is possible to provide renewable energy for all
• We need to set aside 15% of land for conservation
We can all make a difference by making small changes in our daily lives. We just need to dare to change!
You can work out your carbon footprint using the Carbon Footprint Calculator on our website.
How to reduce your carbon footprint
Avoid buying bottled water – drink tap water instead. It takes 3 times as much water to make a bottle as it does to fill it. A litre of bottled water generates up to 600 times more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) than a litre of tap water. More info
Buy less stuff! About 90% of stuff is discarded within 6 months after being made. Use this handy checklist before buying something:
1. Is this purchase something I need?
2. Do I already own something that will serve the same purpose?
3. Can I borrow one instead of buying new?
4. Can I make something that will serve the same purpose?
5. Can I buy a used one?
6. Can I buy or commission one made locally?
7. Can I buy one that was made with environmentally responsible
8. Can I compost or recycle it when I’m done with it?
9. What is the impact on the environment of the full life cycle of
10. Does the manufacture or disposal of it damage the environment?
Local is Lekker: buy locally produced fruit and vegetables in season. Avoid buying food that is packaged excessively, like bananas wrapped in plastic!
Drive less, start walking and cycling more. Driving a fuel efficient car can play a huge part in reducing your carbon footprint. More information. Driving a 5km/l 4×4 rather than a 10km/l car for a year will waste more energy than
Leaving the fridge door open for 7 years
Leaving the TV on for 32 years
Leaving the bathroom light on for 34 years
Start thinking about how you use energy. Change those light bulbs, turn off those phone chargers! More info
Start a compost bin at home and start recycling your waste. Click here for a list of recycling depots in Cape Town