According to a UK study, growth of the population and an increasing consumption of resources could leave humans in need of a second planet as early as 2030. Human demands on natural resources have doubled in less than 50 years, according to the Living Planet Report. The rate at which resources are being utilized with the population as is – or growing – will exceed the capacity of the planet in about 30 years. The report also said tropical wildlife populations are falling by as much as 60 percent over the past three decades.
Authors of the study analyzed 8,000 populations of 2,500 species, as well as global changes in water consumption and land use. According to the latest information, it could be that half of the total plant production and most of the animals worldwide contribute to the wellbeing of just one species – mankind. The exploitation of nature’s resources occurs when we consume more than can be replaced naturally. For example this happens when we cut trees down and do not replace those we have felled.
Each time that more trees are felled than can be replaced naturally, it causes the forest to gradually disappear and with it, all of the species dependent on this habitat for survival. Currently the rate of tree-felling is 10 times quicker than the rate of natural reforestation. The exploitation of the sea also belongs in this category. More than 70 percent of the fish we consume are over-farmed. The trawlers have become so efficient that very few fish remain behind as the nets collect the day’s catch.
Coal is often used by power-plants to produce electricity. If people would use electricity more efficiently (ie, by turning off appliances when not in use, etc. ), there would be less demand for electric power and thus less coal to be burned. Domestic heating often uses natural gas. One can cut down on consumption by isolating their homes better (reducing the amount of heat which escapes), by using more energy efficient heaters, etc. Soil covers a major portion of the earth’s land surface.
It is an important natural resource that either directly or indirectly supports most of the planet’s life. Life here depends upon soil for food. Plants are rooted in soil and obtain needed nutrients there. Animals get their nutrients from plants or from other animals that eat plants. Many animals make their homes or are sheltered in the soil. Microbes in the soil cause the breakdown and decay of dead organisms, a process that in turn adds more nutrients to the soil.