Ruth Mitchell

UK living 'three-planet lifestyle'

The UK would need three planets if it continues to exploit the Earth’s resources at the current rate, warns environmental charity WWF. In 2003, global demand for resources outstripped supply by 25 per cent, resulting in the Earth taking a year and three months for it to produce the ecological resources used in one year.

Since 2004, the footprint of each person in the UK has increased by four per cent, so that they now use the equivalent of six football pitches worth of natural resources to support their lifestyles. Ecosystems are now degrading at a rate unprecedented in human history. Between 1970 and 2003, terrestrial species declined by 31%, freshwater species by 28% and marine species by 27%. Rising carbon dioxide omissions are thought to be the biggest contributor to this increase. The UK is now the world’s 14th worst producer of carbon dioxide.

Paul King, WWF director of campaigns, said: “We urgently have to face the fact that we are all running up a serious ecological debt and that we cannot continue to exhaust the Earth’s natural reserves without putting something back. “It is time to make some vital choices, to enable people to enjoy a one-planet lifestyle.”

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