Over the past century Earth has undergone dramatic changes for the worse. The number of people, which in 1900 stood at under 2 billion, doubled and then doubled again to nearly 8 billion today. In tandem, more and more once pristine land has been converted to manmade uses: agriculture, infrastructure, housing.
Wildlife habitats have been decimated. Forests have been felled. Coastal areas have been redeveloped. Yet not all is lost. Not yet at any rate.
An international team of researchers from the National Geographic Society and the University of California has mapped Earth for our collective footprint on ice-free land areas to see how much of it has escaped being put to anthropogenic uses.
They estimate that around half of terrestrial areas on the planet (somewhere between 48% and 56%) have been relatively unimpacted by us. Three out of four spatial assessments conducted by the scientists have yielded the result that nearly half of the non‐permanent ice‐ or snow‐covered land has had low human influence, especially in areas with frigid climates such as large parts of Canada and Siberia in Russia. Read more…