Moving towards sustainability depends on significant action now.
Population size changes slowly, and human-made capital – homes, cars, roads, factories, or power plants – can last for many decades.
This implies that policy and investment decisions made today will continue to determine our resource demand throughout much of the 21st century.
As the Living Planet Index shows, human pressure is already threatening many of the biosphere’s assets. Even moderate “business as usual” is likely to accelerate these negative impacts. And given the slow response of many biological systems, there is likely to be a considerable time lag before ecosystems benefit significantly from people’s positive actions.
We share the Earth with 5–10 million species or more
By choosing how much of the planet’s biocapacity we appropriate, we determine how much is left for their use.
To maintain biodiversity, it is essential that a part of the biosphere’s productive capacity is reserved for the survival of other species, and that this share is split between all biogeographic realms and major biomes.
To manage the transition to sustainability, we need measures that demonstrate where we have been, where we are today, and how far we still have to go.
The Living Planet Index and the Ecological Footprint help to establish baselines, set targets, and monitor achievements and failures.
Such vital information can stimulate the creativity and innovation required to address humanity’s biggest challenge: how can we live well while sustaining the planet’s other species and living within the capacity of one Earth?