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 2018, we will be living on resources borrowed from future generations. We call this Earth Overshoot Day, which falls on August 1.

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. Cerrado, Brazil

© Adriano Gambarini / WWF-Brazil

The Cerrado is South America’s largest savannah. It shelters 5% of all living species on Earth, including more than 10,000 plant species, almost half of which are found nowhere else in the world.

While deforestation has slowed across the Amazon, it has accelerated in adjacent ecosystems, including the Cerrado, driven largely by expanding beef and soy production. Indeed, the Cerrado has lost nearly half of its native vegetation.

As part of the Collaboration for Forests and Agriculture, WWF and other NGOs are working with global traders, processors, retailers, and other food companies to source only deforestation-free beef and soy from the Cerrado, as well as the Brazilian Amazon and the Chaco woodlands and grasslands of Argentina and Paraguay.

Consumers have an opportunity to protect forests, too. By consuming animal protein at levels in line with nutritionists’ recommendations, they can help reduce the pressure on forests and other natural ecosystems.

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.

4. Coral Reef Restoration Project of El Nido Foundation

© Jürgen Freund / WWF

But 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 Block Island Offshore Windfarm Project, Rhode Island, United States

© Global Warming Images / WWF

Human-caused climate change is one of the biggest threats to the places and species WWF works to protect. But we are working together to address this challenge. In the US, more than 2,000 mayors, governors, university presidents and CEOs, representing 125 million American citizens and $6.2 trillion in GDP — or roughly one third of the entire U.S. economy— have committed to honor the Paris Climate Agreement and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

The Block Island offshore wind farm in Rhode Island is a great example of renewable energy adoption in the US. It is the only offshore wind farm in the country that has been completed, and it just became operational this year. Its turbines are twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, and have the ability to generate 125,000 MWh of electricity a year, which is enough power to meet 90 percent of Block Island’s needs while keeping 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

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.