As human populations and consumption increase, we place greater demands on ecosystems that are essential for the survival of not only humanity but wildlife species as well.
The threats facing the rich array of plant and animal life on the planet seem greater than at any time in modern history. Problems such as climate change, water shortages, overharvesting, invasive species, pollution, and habitat disruption—symptoms of human pressure on the planet’s finite resources—are driving down wildlife populations worldwide.
The gap between human demand and what our planet can regenerate (biocapacity) is known as ecological overshoot. It results in the depletion of the natural capital that all species (including our own) depend on for their livelihood. It also results in the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that leads to climate change, with profound implications for ecosystems and the species they support as well as for our societies well being and economic stability.
A 2010 report in the journal Science, to which Global Footprint Network was a contributor, provided a stark assessment that the world’s governments had not met the target set by the Convention on Biological Diversity, and had instead presided over enormous declines.
Ultimately halting species loss and enabling biodiversity to thrive will require bringing human demand for ecological services into balance with what nature can renewably supply.
By advocating for decision-making that takes the biosphere’s limited resource budget into account, Global Footprint Network is promoting a world where all, including other species, can thrive within the means of our planet. The Network makes accessible to decision-makers, of households, companies, cities and countries, the risks that resource limitation and declining biodiversity pose to them as well as to our societies’ well-being and economic stability.
Every two years, WWF and the Zoological Society of London publish the Living Planet Report, the world’s leading science-based analysis on the health of our planet and wildlife populations and the impact of human activity. Global Footprint Network has collaborated with WWF on the biennial Living Planet Report since 2000.