Report: Planet earth strained by rising population

A report released early this week indicates that planet earth may be running on borrowed time.

According to a report released by the World Wildlife Fund for nature (WWF-Kenya), the rate at which people are exploiting the planet is so high that we now need an extra earth to sustain our insatiable appetite for food, water and other resources.

The Living Planet Report 2016 states we need an equivalent of 1.6 Earth's to provide the natural resources that humanity consumes in one year.

According to the report, the human population has grown so dramatically that it is now rapidly eroding the environment and natural resources such as air, water, wildlife and soil, faster than mother earth can replenish them.

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For example, between 1990 and today, the report states,  239 million hectares of natural forest were cut, representing an area four times the size of Kenya.

The report indicates we could lose 67 per cent of our wildlife by 2020 as a result of human activities.

According to the report, Africa may be seeing the last of the elephant. In the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania for example, elephant population declined by 60 per cent between 2009 and 2014 primarily due to poaching.

"Growing scientific evidence tells us that we are surpassing the boundaries of what the planet can cope with. In just a few decades we have rapidly accelerated the destructive, wasteful and unsustainable use of our natural resources," says Fred Kwame, regional director, WWF Africa.

Feeding the ballooning population is becoming a major test, with agriculture currently occupying a third of the planet's total land area and drinking up 70 per cent water.

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What's to be done?

The report proposes changes across the entire food chain, from planet to plate

"We need agricultural methods that grow food where it is needed and where it is suited, focusing on yield optimisation;and to  stop destructive fishing methods," says Jared Bosire, conservation director at WWF-Kenya.

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