WWF’s Living Planet Report 2006 – A Report Should Be Read
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced its annual ‘Living Planet Report’ iin October 2006 in order to declinenumbers of animal species that are dependent upon them. It also offered solutions on how to reverse the downward trends in these areas. You can see the impact of human activity on the planet at this year report. It shows that the world’s natural ecosystems are being run down at a rate never seen before in human history.
The ‘Living Planet Report’ makes the terrifying inference that the world’s population of vertebrate species have declined by a third since 1970, thus confirming the worst of human fears: that humanity is using up the planet’s resources at a much faster rate than which they can be produced. Carter S. Roberts, President and CEO of the WWF, commented:
“The bottom line of this report could not be more clear – for twenty years we’ve lived our lives in a way that far exceeds the carrying capacity of the Earth. The choices we make today will shape the possibilities for the generations which follow us. The fact that we live beyond our means in our use of natural resources will surely limit opportunities for future generations to follow.”
In fact, the USA, as the world’s foremost consumer society, is seen to be at the forefront of what the WWF report calls ‘resource overshoot’ – the use of more resources than is sustainable by the planet. This makes it all the more important for institutions in the USA – including the government, parents and teachers – to teach our children (the “future generations” that Roberts talks about) with such concern of exactly how harmful human behaviour can be to the planet.
In an attempt to try to educate children, there has, to date been a variety of efforts made by different sources on how best to preserve the environment for future life.
For example, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) runs a children’s educational resource called TUNZA, which aims to work in partnership with children across the world in order to equip them with the tools needed to maintain the environment for their own children in turn.
With environmental and wildlife awareness having become so much more prevalent in popular culture during the last ten years – through sources as wide ranging as The Body Shop’s 1990s product packaging, through to Al Gore’s recent movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ – many larger organisations that are not traditionally associated with education have jumped on board. For instance, Doubletree hotels runs a program called ‘Teaching Kids to CARE®’ – a special educational initiative that aims to bring wildlife and environmental awareness to the forefront of the classroom.
With the continued initiation of this and other, similar programs both in America and across the world, there is the possibility that such programs will enable a reversal of the downward trend of environmental damage; perhaps allowing for the WWF’s Living Planet Report to predict a much more promising future for the world in future years.