It’s a tale as old as time, so how did we let it get this far? According to an analysis by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the human lifestyle today is responsible for a 50 percent decline of Earth’s wild life population in just 40 years.

The freshwater populations have suffered the most, with a 75 percent decline since 1970. Dave Tickner, WWF’s freshwater advisor says this is because “whatever happens on the land, it all ends up in the rivers.”

The land animal population, including forest elephants in central Africa, has declined by 40 percent, due to poaching and deforestation. Marine animal populations have fallen by 40 percent as well. Most prominently, 80 percent of turtles have been decimated either by drowning via fishing nets or the destruction of their nesting grounds.

Killing animals for food in massive numbers combined with the all the pollution people excrete into wildlife habitats make for such percentages, and it is purely a choice humanity is making. According to a new Living Planet report, the human population needs one and a half Earths in order to sustain the current global consumption rate, two and a half are needed to sustain the UK’s consumption, and a whopping four Earths are needed to support the US’s.

But there is some good news; we have not yet passed the point of no return. Like the freshwater otters that were nearly extinct in England, or the tigers in Nepal, intensive conservation efforts could turn these numbers around. Hopefully, these findings will be the rude awakening humanity needs to make a change. Know more.