EcoAlert: Urban Sprawl! –Welcome to the ‘Anthropocene Epoch’

 

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Every week humans create the equivalent of a city the size of Vancouver. No one can realistically argue that humans haven’t dramatically transformed the face of the planet. But now scientists propose that humankind has so altered the Earth that that we have brought about an end to one epoch and entered a new age. They suggest humans have so changed the Earth that it’s time the Holocene epoch was officially ended. The new epoch of Earth’s history is being called the Anthropocene, meaning “man-made”.


Mexico City is a perfect example: Twenty million people live in the city, the world's fifth largest metropolis. In 1800 three perecnt of the world's population lived in cities…today it's 50% and growing. A city within a city, Nezahualcoyotl (image below) has a population of over a million and is, according to Wikipedia, one of the most dangerous areas in Mexico City.

In 2007, Earth's 6.8 billion humans were living 50 percent beyond the planet's threshold of sustainability, according to its report, issued ahead of a UN biodiversity conference. Even with modest UN projections for population growth, consumption and climate change, by 2030 humanity will need the capacity of two Earths to absorb CO2 waste and keep up with natural resource consumption, it warned.

According to the United Nations, humans officially became an urban species in 2007 when a milestone was reached. Over half of the world’s population now live in cities. By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s citizens, including nearly 2 billion from rural migration, will be living in cities.

The WWF's "Living Planet" report has said that carbon pollution and over-use of Earth's natural resources have become so critical that, on current trends, we will need a second planet to meet our needs by 2030. The report says that 1 billion people do not have access to an adequate supply of fresh water. It pointed to 71 countries that were running down their sources of freshwater at a worrying, unsustainable rate. Nearly two-thirds of these countries experience "moderate to severe" water stress.

"This has profound implications for ecosystem health, food production and human wellbeing, and is likely to be exacerbated by climate change," WWF said.

 

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