wave of nationalist/populist/anti-globalization, record high debt,
nuclear doomsday clock at its highs, soaring financial leverage, and
now trade wars.
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).
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.
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.
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.
the world doesn’t act soon, there will be catastrophic biodiversity
loss and untold amounts of human misery, they
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.”
* * *
Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice
“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.
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
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
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).
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
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."
- "sell stocks and go green"?
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
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.