Earth is home to millions of species. Just one dominates it. Humans. Our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities have modified almost every part of our planet. We are having a profound impact on it. Our cleverness, our inventiveness and our activities are now the drivers of every global problem we face.
And every one of these problems is accelerating as we continue to grow towards a global population of 10 billion. We emerged about 200,000 years ago. In geological time, that is incredibly recent.
Just 10,000 years ago, there were 1 million, by 1800 there were 1 billion, by 1960 there were 3 billion. There are now over 7 billion and by 2050 there will be 9 billion.
We have no known means to feed 10 billion at our rate of consumption and with our agricultural system. Simply to feed ourselves in the next 40 years, we need to produce more food than the entire agricultural output of the past 10,000 years.
Food productivity is set to decline very sharply due to: climate change; soil degradation, water stress, desertification. By the end of this century, large parts of the planet will not have any usable water.
As our numbers continue to grow, we increase our need for more water, more food, more land, more transport and more energy. As a result, we are accelerating the rate at which we are changing our climate.
Our activities are not only interconnected with but also interact with, the complex system we live on: Earth. It is important to understand how all is connected.
The only solution is to change our behaviour, radically and globally, on every level. We urgently need to consume less. A lot less. Radically less. Less food, less energy, less stuff. And we need to conserve more. A lot more.
The problem is us.