Time for a change: the Living Planet Report

I’ve recently read through the summary of this year’s Living Planet Report – an annual report published by the WWF, which documents the state of our planet. It’s not pleasant reading, mentioning among other things that;

  • the number of animals we share our planet with has fallen by half since 1970
  • to keep our standard of living, we would need the regenerative capacity of 1.5 planets
  • the low-income countries have the smallest ecological footprints, but suffer the biggest losses in biodiversity
  • climate change and the depletion of ecosystems will leave even more people suffering from hunger, living without clean water or a reliable electricity supply

Reports like this one screams for change. To change our way of living is not just an option, it’s mandatory. The situation is not yet hopeless, but demands immediate action, from the leaders of our nations, from companies, and from us as ordinary citizens.

“We need leadership for change. Sitting on the bench waiting for someone else to make the first move doesn’t work. Heads of state need to start thinking globally; businesses and consumers need to stop behaving as if we live in a limitless world.”

– Marco Lambertini, WWF International

Advertisements

Are we learning anything from super storms like Haiyan/Yolanda?

No one has probably missed the typhoon that hit the Philippines last week, causing enormous devastation. The winds almost totally wiped out the city of Tacloban and destroyed many other communities on the island of Leyte as well. Many people have died, even more are homeless and starving.There’s no law and order and getting help to the victims is complicated.

People generously give money to help out, money which is greatly needed to save the people there and rebuild their city and their lives again. But this is not a post about asking you to donate money – even if it would make me very happy if you do – instead I want to ask everybody a question: Are we learning anything from storms like this one?

I’m not talking about developing better plans for how to handle the disaster when it strikes, even though that is also important, and something that should have been paid more attention to in the Philippines knowing that this storm was approaching. However, what I’m talking about is climate change. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that these storms are getting both worse and more frequent because of the damage we do to our nature. We are all partly responsible for what happened in the Philippines. Just like we are all partly responsible for any other natural disaster that has happened or will happen in the future.

The lifestyle people in the developed world are leading is not sustainable – we are living above our resources – and we all know that. We use the nature as a resource instead of living in harmony with it, instead of treating this planet as the home it is. It is the only planet we have, the only one we are ever going to have. Unfortunately life is not fair, and the consequences of the lifestyle we are leading does not always (never) hit the people most responsible.

We need to change and we need to change now. It’s not enough to change our light bulbs to energy-saving ones or closing the lights or the TV when not in the room. We need to change our way of living; consuming less, traveling less and more energy-efficient, eating more environmentally friendly foods (aka plants), and so on. We cannot anymore reverse what we have done to this planet of ours – and with that to millions of humans and animals –  but we can stop it from getting worse.

You might be thinking that changing your own lifestyle will not make a difference, because you’re only one person among billions, and along with that the many corporations and political leaders who only seek power and economical gain – often on the expense of the environment or the health of humans or animals. But you know what? You can change that. We can change that. Because people together are powerful, together we can change anything.

If not you, who? If not now, when?