A wave of nationalist/populist/anti-globalization, record high debt, nuclear doomsday clock at its highs, soaring financial leverage, and now trade wars.
If the world did not have enough to worry about, 20,000 scientists have a few more reasons to believe ‘the end is nigh’…and President Trump is not to blame for any of it (yet).
A dire warning to the world about its future, predicting catastrophe for humanity, continues to gain momentum, becoming one of the most discussed pieces of scientific research ever.
As The Independent reports, the new letter was actually an update to an original warning sent from the Union of Concerned Scientists that was backed by 1,700 signatures 25 years ago. It said that the world had changed dramatically since that warning was issued – and almost entirely for the worse.
Mankind is still facing the existential threat of runaway consumption of limited resources by a rapidly growing population, they warn; and “scientists, media influencers and lay citizens” aren’t doing enough to fight against it.
If the world doesn’t act soon, there will be catastrophic biodiversity loss and untold amounts of human misery, they wrote.
The lead author of the warning letter and new response paper, ecology Professor William Ripple, from Oregon State University, said: “Our scientists’ warning to humanity has clearly struck a chord with both the global scientific community and the public.”
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The “second notice” clearly charts the environmental degradation in the past quarter-century and notes that only one out of nine areas assessed, the ozone layer, has improved.
On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse (figure 1, file S1). Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels (Hansen et al. 2013), deforestation (Keenan et al. 2015), and agricultural production – particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption (Ripple et al. 2014). Moreover, we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century.
Humanity is now being given a second notice, as illustrated by these alarming trends (figure 1). We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats (Crist et al. 2017).
By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperilled biosphere.
The scientists over a myriad of solutions: from “reducing food waste” to “divesting of monetary investments and purchases to encourage positive environmental change” and “revising our economy to reduce wealth inequality.”
So – “sell stocks and go green”?
To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual. This prescription was well articulated by the world’s leading scientists 25 years ago, but in most respects, we have not heeded their warning. Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.
Full ‘Letter To Humanity’ below…
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Yeah, but apart from deforestation, invasive aliens, defaunation, population growth, climate-change, pollution, mass extinction, the threat of global thermonuclear war, record high debt, a failing unipolar world order, and the end of globalization; everything is awesome, have you seen the stock market?