One Generation to Save the World, Report Warns

Signs of hope include slowing population growth and greater use of renewable energy.

Published: 15-Jan-2003

human race has only one or perhaps two generations to rescue itself, according to the 2003 State of the World report by the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute.

The longer that no remedial action is taken, the greater the degree of misery and biological impoverishment that humankind must be prepared to accept, the institute says in its 20th annual report.

Among the worst trends worldwide is that 420 million people live in countries which no longer have enough crop land to grow their own food and have to rely on imports. Around 1.2 billion people, or about a fifth of the world's population, live in absolute poverty - defined as surviving on the equivalent of less than $1, or 62p, a day.

About one quarter of the developing world's crop land is being degraded, and the rate is increasing. The greatest threat is not a shortage of land, says the report, but a shortage of water, with more than 500 million people living in regions prone to chronic drought.

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