For the record, new analysis shows that the number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainablenumbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats.
“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science.
“We have all heard of the FTSE 100 index, but we have missed the ultimate indicator, the falling trend of species and ecosystems in the world,” said Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s director of conservation.
“If we get [our response] right, we will have a safe and sustainable way of life for the future,” he said. If not the overuse of resources will ultimately lead to conflicts.
A second index in the new Living Planet report calculates humanity’s “ecological footprint”, ie the scale at which it is using up natural resources. Currently, the global population is cutting down trees faster than they regrow, catching fish faster than the oceans can restock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them and emitting more climate-warming carbon dioxide than oceans and forests can absorb.