Monday, October 04, 2004

Planet Under Pressure

"Food: An estimated 1 in 6 people suffer from hunger and malnutrition while attempts to grow food are damaging swathes of productive land.

Water: By 2025, two thirds of the world's people are likely to be living in areas of acute water stress.

Energy: Oil production could peak and supplies start to decline by 2010

Climate change: The world's greatest environmental challenge, according to the UK prime minister Tony Blair, with increased storms, floods, drought and species losses predicted.

Biodiversity: Many scientists think the Earth is now entering its sixth great extinction phase.

Pollution: Hazardous chemicals are now found in the bodies of all new-born babies, and an estimated one in four people worldwide are exposed to unhealthy concentrations of air pollutants.

And underlying all these pressures is a seventh - human population." 1

" How many of us can live at northern consumption levels, and what level should everyone else be expected to settle for?" 1

"How can we expect poor people to respect the environment when they need to use it to survive?" 1

And how can we act when sizeable and sincere parts of society say we are already overcoming the problems, not being overwhelmed by them?"

"The challenge we face is not about feeling guilty for our consumption or virtuous for being "green" - it's about the growing recognition that, as the human race, we stand or fall together." 1

"Living within the planet's means need not condemn us to giving up what we now assume we need for a full life, just to sharing it." 1

1. Alex Kirby, 01/10/2004. Planet Under Pressure, BBC News Online.