In my 6 November 2012 blog posting titled “Intentional Ignorance,” I quoted something Julia Allen Field said in Miami around the time of the first Earth Day Teach-In in 1970:
“We are using the Earth as if we were the last generation.”
In that piece I offered my own version of her statement:
Humanity is systematically taking apart the life-support system of Planet Earth for humans.
Now comes a measure of the depth of this action from the World Wildlife Fund‘s Living Planet Report.
That report is the world’s leading, science-based analysis on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity. Knowing we only have one planet, WWF believes that humanity can make better choices that translate into clear benefits for ecology, society and the economy today and in the long term. From the WWF web site on the new report comes this summary:
“[The] latest edition of the Living Planet Report is not for the faint-hearted. One key point that jumps out is that the Living Planet Index (LPI), which measures more than 10,000 representative populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish, has declined by 52 per cent since 1970.
Excerpts from ‘Sustainable Living – True Conservation’, and the role of human population levels in what ‘conservation’ really means
Lamenting the conflicting viewpoints associated with the management of wild elephant populations in South Africa, the author of “Sustainable Living – True Conservation’ summarizes the conflict primarily as being between animal rightists arguing in favor of protecting elephant populations within protected areas and wildlife managers arguing that they cannot do this to the detriment of the system as a whole for a variety of reasons. He concludes that “Both arguments are right, but both are totally missing the point. Rapidly declining biodiversity on a regional, national or international scale is not as a result of growing elephant populations, or any other animal population for that matter, but as a direct result of the exponential increase in the human population putting unprecedented strain on all the natural systems of our planet which directly influences the survival of all other species, including our own, but yet it goes unchecked and ignored as if it does not exist.” The author concludes his article with the following summary, which I think poses some of the ethical, moral, and functional dilemmas facing population control strategists.