The Worldwatch Institute has released Vital Signs: Volume 20, the latest compilation from the Vital Signs project. The report finds that in 2012, global oil consumption reached an all-time high and physical water scarcity affected nearly 1.2 billion people. The Vital Signs report provides insight on many of the most critical global concern and provides data and analysis on significant global trends such as fossil fuel subsidies, agricultural commodities and rapid urbanization in the developing world.
“Our recent economic systems and theories are programmed to squeeze ever more resources from a planet in distress,” said Michael Renner, Worldwatch senior researcher and director of the Vital Signs project. “A mixture of population growth, consumerism, greed and short-term thinking by policymakers and business people seems to be inexorably driving human civilization toward a showdown with the planet’s limits.”
Some of the trends are positive. For example, within the agriculture sector, efficient irrigation methods have increased more than sixfold over the last two decades. In addition, socially sustainable ways of doing business continue to emerge.
“There is no shortage of alternatives to change the destructive trajectory that humanity finds itself on,” continued Renner. “Renewables and efficient irrigation are two practical options among many others. But we need to get serious about these tasks instead of consigning them largely to the margins.”