WRI's Strategic Plan
We are living in a critical moment.
The past two decades have witnessed unprecedented economic and social progress. Real incomes in low- and middle-income countries have doubled and poverty rates have halved. Two billion people have gained access to improved drinking water. Maternal mortality has dropped by nearly half, and the share of those who are malnourished has fallen by a third. This has been one of the greatest and most rapid transformations in human history. But these achievements have been accompanied by mounting pressure on our natural resources.
Every minute of every day we have been losing the equivalent of 50 soccer fields of forest. Over 1 billion people already face water scarcity, and this may triple by 2025. Climate change is costing $700 billion per year, with the greatest impact on the poor. At the same time, more than 1.3 billion people lack access to affordable, reliable electricity. These pressures are on course to increase, as the global middle class expands from 2 billion people today to 5 billion in 2030, driving greater demand for automobiles and fundamentally altering consumption patterns. Many of these people are moving to the world’s cities, which are expected to add 1.5 billion people by 2030.
Are current patterns of production and consumption sustainable? We believe not.
Is it possible to continue to enjoy economic and social progress and improvements in the quality of life, while remaining within planetary limits and addressing climate change? We believe it is.
But it will require better understanding of the possibilities, and more decisive leadership to get us to that sustainable future.