Thursday, March 03, 2011From an article by Mark Townsend and Jason Burke posted on Guardian.co.uk:
Our planet is running out of room and resources. Modern man has plundered so much, a damning report claims this week, that outer space will have to be colonised.
Earth's population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a report out this week.
A study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), to be released on Tuesday, warns that the human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life.
In a damning condemnation of Western society's high consumption levels, it adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted.
The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals that more than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans over the past three decades.
Using the image of the need for mankind to colonise space as a stark illustration of the problems facing Earth, the report warns that either consumption rates are dramatically and rapidly lowered or the planet will no longer be able to sustain its growing population.
Experts say that seas will become emptied of fish while forests - which absorb carbon dioxide emissions - are completely destroyed and freshwater supplies become scarce and polluted.
The report offers a vivid warning that either people curb their extravagant lifestyles or risk leaving the onus on scientists to locate another planet that can sustain human life. Since this is unlikely to happen, the only option is to cut consumption now.