IKEA is usually associated with frustrating self-assembly furniture experiences that take way longer to put together than they should, but the Swedish company has revealed something even more terrifying than putting together a KALLAX shelving unit all by yourself.
According to this year’s IKEA Group Sustainability Strategy for 2020 report, the world is in a lot of trouble. President Trump might think climate change is a hoax, but even he’d probably change his mind if he read this.
According to the report, our little planet is ‘on track to warm by four degrees Celsius by the end of this century’. That might sound nice and invoke visions of long, hot summers and days spent lazing on the beach – if any of us are even still alive by then – but the reality of the situation is much more severe.
In fact, the report warns us that the four degree shift ‘will have a severe effect on weather patterns, water availability and agriculture’.
If you’re not quite sure what that actually means in real terms, the report gives us this small indicator: “We have already lost half the world’s forests and degraded an estimated 60% of the world’s ecosystems.”
Suffice to say, if we continue ignoring the evidence that’s right in front of us, we’re screwed.
Not just because of the environment, either. Overpopulation is another big problem highlighted in the report – today, there are over 400 cities in the world with a population of more than one million, compared to just 12 in 1900. And it’s not slowing down either – the report tells us that ‘the world’s urban population swells by more than one million people every week’.
We’re literally running out of room. And resources. “When it comes to the environment, society is currently using resources at a rate that requires 1.5 planets,” states the report. You can probably figure out that isn’t a very good figure.
It gets worse, too. Due to those rising temperatures and that shortage of resources, it’s estimated that by 2030 – just 13 years from now – ‘almost half of the world’s population will live in water scarce areas’.
Unsurprisingly, we’re also running out of food. By 2050, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates there will be 9 billion people living on this planet and that farmers will have to produce 70% more food if we’re to meet the needs of all of them. Seeing as we barely do that now, it all looks a little impossible.
Of course, IKEA didn’t produce this report out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re trying to show that they’re a responsible corporation who you can trust to help slow down the end of the world, essentially so that you’ll buy more BILLY bookshelves, TYSSEDAL drawers, FÖRVAVA kitchen cabinets and other things with Swedish-sounding-but-not-actually-Swedish names.
Still, remove any cynicism about this subtle but underhanded marketing strategy and we’re still left with a sobering reality. Things need to change fast if we want our children and grandchildren to be able to call this planet home in the not too distant future. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Featured Image Credit: PA