In 1970, humanity’s rate of resource consumption could be sustained even by a planet just 80 percent the size of this one. Today, we use the resources of 1.5 planet Earths each year--- meaning it is taking the planet 18 months to regenerate what we consume annually. According to the Global Footprint Network, “the result is collapsing fisheries, diminishing forest cover, depletion of fresh water systems, and...global climate change,” to name a few.
Since 1970 global greenhouse gas emissions have increased from about 13 billion tonnes annually (in carbon dioxide equivalent units) to about 27.5 billion tonnes in 2002, to a projected 38 billion tonnes this year.
In 1970, the world used about 15 billion barrels of oil. The International Energy Agency estimated 2010 oil consumption to be about 31.6 billion barrels.
The number of cars in the world has at least doubled since 1970, from 300 million to 600 million.
In 1970, about 9,000 species went extinct. In 2010 about 40,000 species went extinct.
In 1970, less than 10 percent of the global fish stocks that had been analyzed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization were assessed as overexploited. Today, 30 percent of those fish stocks are overexploited.
In 1970 the Earth’s human population was about 3.7 billion people. It reached 5.7 billion in 1995 and sometime in 2011 we’ll hit seven billion.
According to the United Nations, 2009 marked the first year since 1970 in which more than a billion people were undernourished. Five years earlier, 15 percent of humanity starved; now it is 20 percent.