Toggle Nav

#TBT: Why We Must Take Care of Our Planet

In less than eight months, we used more natural resources than the planet is able to produce in a 12 month period. For the remainder of 2016, we will be living on resources borrowed from future generations. We call this Earth Overshoot Day, which fell on Aug. 8.

Move the sliders over the images to see how beautiful natural spaces have changed over time.

1. Sierra Nevada

© NASA Earth Observatory

The Sierra Nevada ecoregion is California’s water tower, contributing more than 60 percent of the state's developed water supply and harboring precious reserves in snowpack. In 2015, the Sierra Nevada recorded the driest winter in 65 years of record keeping. A lack of rain and abnormally high temperatures—both signs of a changing climate—are to blame.

WWF is hard at work in the region promoting water security for people and nature. Through the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), WWF helps businesses find innovative ways to conserve, protect and share water resources in California’s Central Valley and beyond.

2. Ribeiro Gonçalves, Piauí, Brazil

© Adriano Gambarini / WWF-Brazil

The Cerrado is a wooded grassland that covers more than 20 percent of Brazil, including the Ribeiro Goncalves region. The Cerrado holds 5% of all life on Earth and is almost the size of Western Europe. Sadly, this incredible forest is disappearing, due in large part to ever expanding soy production.

WWF is working in the Cerrado to protect this unique environment. WWF assisted in the creation of one of the most famous national parks in the center of Brazil - the Chapada dos Veadeiros National Park, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other conservation work included a successful community-focused ecotourism project that helped miners train as tour guides in the region, as well as current work on freshwater and environmental education. WWF is also active in the international Round Table on Responsible Soy, which promotes environmentally responsible production and use of soy, particularly in the Cerrado.

3. Great Barrier Reef

© XL Catlin Seaview Survey

There are growing threats to the Great Barrier Reef, with the most serious being climate change, catchment pollution and unsustainable coastal development. But thanks to the support of hundreds of thousands of people around the world, we’re one giant step closer to protecting one of the Earth’s most beautiful and lively places.

4. Coral Reef Restoration Project of El Nido Foundation

© Jürgen Freund / WWF

And it’s not all bad news.

Conservation groups are working to turn back the clock for coral reefs around the world.

When coral reefs are lost, synthetic structures can be used to encourage growth of new coral, as seen in the above El Nido Foundation project. WWF and partners are also experimenting with growing and planting corals that are naturally tolerant of warmer temperatures, in order to withstand the effects of climate change. Check out this video of the coral restoration process, from nursery to thriving habitat!

5. The Walney Offshore windfarm project, Off Barrow in Furness, Cumbria, UK

© Global Warming Images / WWF

Climate change, caused by an over-abundance of CO2 and other greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere, is one of the biggest threats to the places and species WWF works to conserve. For the US, nearly 40 percent of our CO2 pollution comes from power plants burning fossil fuels for electricity. But we can turn things around by embracing renewable energy.

The UK’s Walney Wind Farm is a great example. One of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, Walney has the capacity to provide 367 MW of clean, renewable energy to approximately 250,000 UK households.

6. Residential solar panel installation

© Pamela Rutter / WWF-US

Wondering what you can do to help? Go solar! Pollution from burning coal and natural gas to make electricity is altering our climate and putting life on earth in jeopardy. Solar is good for the planet and is now cheaper and easier than ever before.