earthly facts

Some plain facts about our planet taken from some old magazines of 2000 AD:

Coastal/Marine: Home to 2 billion people, coastal areas play a vital economic role and also feel the full brunt of human impact. Two-thirds of all fish harvested depend at some point in their lives on coastal wetlands, sea-grasses or coral reefs, all of which are fast disappearing.

Freshwater: These are the most critical of ecosystems since all organisms need water to survive. Human water consumption rose six-fold in the past century, double the rate of population growth. People now use 54% of available freshwater, and additional demand will further jeopardize all other ecosystems.

Agricultural Lands: One-third of global land has been converted to food production, but three-quarters of this area has poor soil. So far, harvests outpace population growth, but the future is clouded by the loss of land to urban development, soil degradation and water scarcity.

Grasslands: This system, which covers 40% of the world’s land surface, includes savannas, shrub-lands and tundra. It supports the largest mammals, migrating birds, crops and livestock. All human food grains originated in grasslands, and wild strains of these staples help keep crops resistant to threats.

Forests: Home to two-thirds of all species, forests temper climate and capture and store water. Their timber has been a springboard for economic development. Forests store 40% of terrestrial carbon, and can slow the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
UN Reports:
  • It is estimated that 20% of freshwater species have vanished or been driven toward extinction in recent decades.
  • Humans already use 54% of the Earth’s rainfall, and 70% of that goes to agriculture.
  • Deforestation, which releases carbon from trees, accounts for 20% of the human-caused carbon emissions that spur climate change.
  • Based on new data analysis, 2.3 billion people face water shortages, 60% more than in previous estimates.

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