However, we can ensure that all species (including ours) have a future, simply through sensible management of our remaining resources and through responsible decisions about family planning.
The Kea Conservation Trust is concerned about these issues and supports any efforts to reduce our combined human impact on the planet.
This page looks at the following issues:
In the Last 500 million years, the earth has experienced five mass Extinctions. We are at a critical moment. What happens over the next 50-100 years will determine what the earth looks like for the next ten million. Scientists around the world agree that the 6th mass extinction is upon us. The the very first time in our planets history, it is driven not by natural catastrophes, but by the impact of one species. Homosapiens.
"Human demographic success has brought the world to this crisis of biodiversity. Human beings....have become a hundred times more numerous than any other land animal of comparable size in the history of life. By every conceivable measure, humanity is ecologically abnormal. Our species appropriates between 20 and 40 per cent of the solar energy captured in landplants. There is no way that we can draw upon the resources of the planet to such a degree without drastically reducing the state of most other species....." Edward O Wilson (The Diversity of Life)
To find out more watch The 6th Extinction - This excellent 5 minute short film probes the extinction crisis and examine solutions to protect the earth's gift of biodiversity.
World population is projected to rise from today's 6.8 billion to 9.15 billion in 2050.* We are presently adding another 73 million people to the population every year!
(The 2.3 billion increase from 2008 to 2050 is almost as much as the entire population of the world in 1950).
These are frightening figures and raise many questions:
For more information, please visit the new Population Matters website. Take some time to go through this excellent website which looks closely at the issues and impacts on the environment, resources and people and suggests ways in which we can all work globally together for a more positive future.
Population Matters patrons include Sir David Attenborough, Dr. Jane Goodall and Chris Packham among other prominant scientists and environmentalists.
Sir David Attenborough states “I’ve seen wildlife under mounting human pressure all over the world and it’s not just from human economy or technology - behind every threat is the frightening explosion in human numbers.
I’ve never seen a problem that wouldn’t be easier to solve with fewer people, or harder, and ultimately impossible, with more. That’s why I support the OPT, and I wish the environmental NGOs would follow their lead, and spell out this central problem loud and clear.” (exerpt from the OPT website).
" How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth?" - BBC
This excellent six part series narrated by David Attenborough is well worth viewing and looks at what the effects of an increasing human population have on the earth's finite resources and ultimately what impact this will have on all our futures.
* United Nations Population Division, World Population Prospects 2008 Revision, 11 March 2009 (from OPT).
Its all about choices - but to make informed choices we all need to know the facts and thats a big call when we are talking worldwide. In many countries people are just struggling to stay alive and feed their families. So how do we start here in New Zealand?
**Ministry of Social Development - NZ
Aside from reducing our overall birthrate and numbers we need to:
There are a number of policies world wide which address the over population issue. We will continue to load these as we find them. Policies help to define what we do as communities and is an important step forward to making changes.
WWF Policy on Population January 2011
NZ Green Party on Population
Global warming (climate change) is significantly affecting all life on this planet. An increasing human population continues to place pressure on our planetary reserves whilst burning of fossil
fuels and removal of pristine rainforest is increasing average global temperatures. Even small increases in temperature over such a short period of time can be catastrophic to many species and natural ecological processes. Species in sensitive alpine and polar areas are also under serious threat and need our help to ensure the survival of their habitats.
For a brief 2 minute animated journey throught he earths climate history, please open the following link to the BBC.
We recommend our readers also visit http://www.climatecrisis.net/ to view the DVD "An Inconvenient Truth" (by Al Gore) and to learn ways in which everyone can reduce their carbon emissions.
Water use worldwide doubled between 1960 and 2000, during which time world population doubled. It means that although the average per person water use has remained about the same (OPT) and increasing worldwide population is depleting the worlds fresh water resources at an unsustainable rate.
The following excerpt from an article written by Fen Montaigne, and published in National Geographic magazine succinctly highlights the issue of a depleting worldwide water resource:
“Among the environmental specters confronting humanity in the 21st century—global warming, the destruction of rain forests, overfishing of the oceans—a shortage of fresh water is at the top of the list, particularly in the developing world. Hardly a month passes without a new study making another alarming prediction, further deepening concern over what a World Bank expert calls the "grim arithmetic of water." Recently the United Nations said that 2.7 billion people would face severe water shortages by 2025 if consumption continues at current rates. Fears about a parched future arise from a projected growth of world population from more than six billion today to an estimated nine billion in 2050. Yet the amount of fresh water on Earth is not increasing. Nearly 97 percent of the planet's water is salt water in seas and oceans. Close to 2 percent of Earth's water is frozen in polar ice sheets and glaciers, and a fraction of one percent is available for drinking, irrigation, and industrial use.
Gloomy water news, however, is not just a thing of the future: Today an estimated 1.2 billion people drink unclean water, and about 2.5 billion lack proper toilets or sewerage systems. More than five million people die each year from water-related diseases such as cholera and dysentery. All over the globe farmers and municipalities are pumping water out of the ground faster than it can be replenished.”
Photo credit: Peter Essick
Additionally the following article was published in the Guardian UK (21st July 2010)
"When the 1948 universal declaration on human rights was written, no one could foresee a day when water would be a contested area. But in 2010, it is not an exaggeration to say that the lack of access to clean water is one of the greatest human rights violation in the world. Nearly 2 billion people live in water-stressed areas of the world and 3 billion have no running water within a kilometre of their homes. Every eight seconds a child dies of a waterborne disease, in every case preventable if their parents had money to pay for water. And it is getting worse as the world runs out of clean water. A new World Bank reports says that by 2030, global demand for water will exceed supply by more than 40%, a shocking prediction that foretells of terrible suffering."
The report goes on to say that "On 28 July, for the first time ever, the general assembly of the United Nations will hold a historic summit on the human right to water. It will consider and debate a resolution supporting the right to "safe and clean drinking water and sanitation" that was presented on 17 June by Pablo Solon, the Bolivian ambassador to the UN, and co-sponsored by 23 other countries. The desired outcome of the day is consensus on recognising the human right to water."
For more information visit the Population Matters Resources page.
Where are all the fish in the sea?
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Associations (FOA) 2 yearly report on the state of the worlds fishing and aquaculture (SOFIA), over 25% of all the world's fish stocks are either overexploited or depleted. Another 52% is fully exploited, these are in imminent danger of overexploitation (maximum sustainable production level) and collapse. Thus a total of almost 80% of the world's fisheries are fully- to over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse. Worldwide about 90% of the stocks of large predatory fish stocks are already gone. In the real world all this comes down to two serious problems.
The single best example of the ecological and economical dangers of overfishing is found in Newfoundland, Canada. In 1992 the once thriving cod fishing industry came to a sudden and full stop when at the start of the fishing season no cod appeared. Overfishing allowed by decades of fisheries mismanagement was the main cause for this disaster that resulted in almost 40,000 people losing their livelihood and an ecosystem in complete state of decay. Now, fifteen years after the collapse, many fishermen are still waiting for the cod to return and communities still haven't recovered from the sudden removal of the regions single most important economical driver (taken from Over Fishing.org).
To find out more about overfishing and what it means to us all, please follow the following links:
As demands for cheap readily available food sources increase along with increasing world wide populations, so intensive farming of livestock to increase productivity is on the increase. But is it sustainable and what are the alternatives?
Although intensive farming of many animal species (particularly pigs and hens) is now illegal in several countries within the EU because of welfare issues, battery farming of chickens and intensive farming of pigs is legal and widespread practice throughout Australasia.
Additionally, free range farming of New Zealand cattle, may soon be a thing of the past.
Should NZ be moving to confined housing of cows to meet consumer demands for more food? Should we as consumers be supporting this move?
As consumers we can send powerful messages about animal welfare issues.
This year, make the change and buy free range meat and eggs!
There are alternative products on the market - supporting free range farming enterprises sends a clear message to agricultural companies and governments.
For more information on these farming practices and what you can do to stop animals suffering, please open the following links:
Stop Factory Farming NZ - for information on intensive farming practices in NZ and their health and ethical implications.
This section will provide information on simple ways that we can all make a difference to the state of our planet.
With a projected increase in human numbers placing mounting pressure on finite resources, individual changes are not enough. We need to ensure that there is a coordinated change in the way we all move forward, with everyone taking responsiblity for the future of our planet.
And above all spread the word - tell your friends and family and encourage your schools and communities to get involved.
Animal welfare and ethical choices:
Climate change and reducing your carbon footprint:
Check out the links on this page for the following movies and series:
For more information on ways in which you can take action, follow the links in each section on this webpage.
A visually stunning movie with excellent aerial footage of our planet and a story to match. Follow the link to watch this beautiful movie narrated by Glen Close.
"Arthus-Betrand is a master at identifying the colors, angles and patterns that show the Earth at its most beautiful. These could be the shadows cast by a train of camels walking through a desert, the myriad shades of blue and white in a glacier in the North Pole, or the symmetrical patterns formed by brightly dyed pieces of cloth laid out to dry in India.
These same skills are brought to bear in HOME, but this time the images are moving and have a clear message: the Earth, the place we call home, is in trouble, and we are largely responsible."
31 Awards and rave reviews - the must see conservation movie of the year!
Sharks as a group are undergoing an extermination programme similar to what kea went through up until the 1970's. We urge you to petition against the practice of shark finning to make shark fin soup and watch the DVD Sharkwater for spectacular images and a powerful message.
Are sharks and other ocean species protected in New Zealand waters? Should they be?
If you would like to find out more, please visit http://www.sharkwater.com/ and Shark Savers.
Critical Mass is a feature-length documentary about the relationship between human population growth and the converging environmental crises of the 21st century. It is a call to action for people everywhere to take responsibility for themselves and accept their role in the emerging global community before it is too late. We will provide cutting edge information on population, economics, consumption, food production, water distribution and social behaviour by speaking with some of the leading thinkers in the world on these subjects.
A must see and a must share for all conservationists.
Follow this link to video footage of earth from space taken from the International Space Station and get inspired to protect our beautiful planet.
As we pass the 7 billion person on the planet, it is being questioned whether we will ever reach the 10 billion mark projected by United Nations demographers – not because of a natural slowing down of birth rates but because of devastating limiting environmental factor.
"From 6 billion to 7 billion" is a thoughtful report just released by the Population Institute about what it means for us to reach the 7 billion mark this month and what it will mean as we approach 8 billion in the next 13 years and 9 billion by 2040. As increasing populations demand increasingly more food, space and fuel, deforestation particularly in poor countries is set to increase, placing more pressure on species in failing habitats. “The rate of biodiversity loss is still proceeding at an alarming rate”.