Over 15000 Scientists Sign 'Warning to Humanity' About Environmental Disaster

Over 15,000 scientists signed an open letter published in Bio Science warning humanity that we need to change our behaviours in order to protect the planet

"Figure 1" in the "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: a second notice" reveals the worsening situation on Earth.

The warning commemorates a similar 1992 declaration from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Writing in the online global journal BioScience, the scientists said every one of the major threats identified 25 years ago has worsened apart from the hole in the ozone layer, which has been stabilised.

Runaway consumption of precious resources by an exploding population remains the biggest danger facing humankind, say the scientists.

Twenty five years after leading scientists issued a first "warning to humanity", raising the alarm about the environmental destruction they were witnessing, a newly updated warning has been signed by over 15,000 scientists from around the world. These two factors can lead us to "many ecological and even societal threats".

They cited concerns about the rapidly increasing human population, and implored for the stabilization of the human population, a cut to greenhouse gas emissions, reduce deforestation and reverse the trend of collapsing biodiversity. The authors used data maintained by government agencies, nonprofit organizations and individual researchers to warn of "substantial and irreversible harm" to the Earth.

Progress in some areas-such as a reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals and an increase in energy generated from renewable sources-shows that positive changes can be made, the authors wrote.

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But now it required the public to pressure their political leaders to take more decisive action. Such activities could include establishing more terrestrial and marine reserves, strengthening enforcement of anti-poaching laws and restraints on wildlife trade, expanding family planning and educational programs for women, promoting a dietary shift toward plant-based foods and massively adopting renewable energy and other "green" technologies.

By 2030, up to 170 million hectares of forest - equivalent to the combined size of Germany, France, Spain and Portugal - may be lost, experts from WWF have previously warned. In fact, they are doing the opposite totally: acknowledging the obvious signs that "we are heading down an unsustainable path".

The goal of the paper, said Ripple, is to "ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate".

This is what prompted William Ripple, a Distinguished Professor of Ecology at Oregon State University, and his graduate student, Christopher Wolf, to pen a new statement - "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: a second notice".

Almost 300 million acres of forest have been lost, mostly to make way for agricultural land. Percentage changes, since 1992, for each graph in the figure, are: (a) -68.1%; (b) -26.1%; (c) -6.4%; (d) +75.3%; (e) -2.8%; (f) -28.9%; (g) +62.1%; (h) +167.6%; and (i) humans: +35.5%, ruminant livestock: +20.5%.

If we don't act soon and start caring more about the Earth, we will face catastrophic biodiversity loss and untold amounts of human misery - the massive group of scientists adverted.

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