Man’s ‘very survival at risk’

The speed at which mankind has used Earth’s resources over the past 20 years has put “humanity’s very survival at risk”, a study involving 1400 scientists says.

The environmental audit, for the United Nations, found that each person in the world now requires a third more land to supply his or her needs than the planet can supply.

Thirty per cent of amphibians, 23% of mammals and 12% of birds are under threat of extinction, while one in 10 of the world’s major rivers runs dry every year before it reaches the sea.

The bleak verdict on the environment was issued yesterday as an “urgent call for action” by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which said the “point of no return” was fast approaching.

The report was drafted and researched by nearly 400 scientists, all experts in their fields. Their findings were subjected to review by 1000 of their peers.

Canterbury University Professor of Antarctic studies Bryan Storey, whose research team contributed to the Antarctic section of the report, said “a real sense of urgency” was needed over global warming and the Government needed to do “a lot more”, as did every nation.

“We haven’t reached the stage where people think it’s serious enough to change the way we live,” he said.


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