Human population growth
In 1804, the world’s human population reached 1 billion for the first time in history. In 2011 (only 200 years later), the United Nations estimated that the human population had reached 7 billion. This means that at the present time, a total of 228,000 extra people are being added to the human population every day! This is the equivalent of a new city of a million people every four and a half days. The UN’s ‘medium’ forward projections suggest a global population of 8 billion by the year 2025, rising to over 9 billion in 2050, and just under 11 billion by 2100.
Impacts on natural systems
People in all societies require land, water, food and energy to live fulfilled happy and healthy lives. But obtaining these and many other resources for 7 billion people has inevitably resulted in the removal and degradation of habitats across the planet. As well as the associated loss of species, the consumption of natural resources on such a large scale has meant that many ecosystems are now unable to deliver the full range of functions and services that they might otherwise provide for humans. As populations rise to 11 billion and the number of people with higher energy demands increases, the impacts on natural systems will also increase.
What then must we do?
Given ever growing pressures on natural systems, ERT Conservation believes that there has never been a more important time: (1) to generate the knowledge and information needed to underpin conservation action, and (2) to ensure that people and organisations within the conservation sector have the necessary skills and tools to achieve their conservation aims. These two core issues of conservation evidence and capacity are at the heart of our work.