The planet's natural ecosystems and regenerating bio-capacity are being severely degraded and, as a result, this compromises the ability of the planet to sustain life. Forests, fisheries, oceans, rangeland, fresh water systems (lakes, wetlands, rivers) and other natural ecosystems are all threatened while many are on the verge of collapse. Water, land and air are getting increasingly polluted, water tables are falling, soil erosion is leading to desertification, global warming is well underway, and species are dying out 1000 times faster than their natural rate of extinction.
- We are losing forestland at a rate of 375 km2 each day. This is more than the total area of New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware combined!
- The world has already lost 80% of its original forests.
- 1.1 billion acres of tropical forest were cleared in just thirty years, between 1960 and 1990.
- Brazil lost 91.4 million acres of its tropical forest between 1980 and 1990. This is almost the total area of North and South Dakota combined.
- At the world's current rates, 5-10% of tropical forest species will become extinct every decade.
- 75% of all the fish stocks in the world are already either: exploited, over-exploited or recovering. 27% of coral reefs have already been and 70% of Earth's coral reefs will cease to exist within the next forty years. The world has lost half of its coastal wetlands, including mangrove swamps and salt marshes.
- In the next 30 years, as many as one-fifth of all species alive today will become extinct. 23% of all mammals and 12% of all birds’ species were considered "threatened" in 2003.
Action Network -
Facts about Rain Forests
Nations Environment Programme -
Global Environment Outlook 3
Resources Institute -
EarthTrends Environmental Information Portal
Food and Agriculture Association -
State of Fisheries 2002