A total of more than 15,000 scientists from almost every country have put out a letter asking humans to stop killing the planet.
Dubbed “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” it essentially lays out all the main problems we’re causing for life on earth and practically begs those responsible to do something about it.
“Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out,” the statement warns.
The first warning was sent out back in 1992. At the time, the planet was already struggling with deforestation and the very beginnings of global climate change. Overfishing, coral reef die-offs, atmospheric carbon dioxide and countless other problems plague the planet, and they may very likely spell our collective doom.
“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,” the report reads. “Especially troubling is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising [greenhouse gasses] from burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and agricultural production—particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption.”
Indeed, as we’ve covered, rainforests are being clipped at record rates, and even weed production — what should be the chilliest of all agricultural activities — is causing disproportionately large net carbon emissions. These are critical problems that aren’t going away.
“Moreover,” the scientists’ dire warning continues, “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.”
The scientists propose a list of a few major changes, mostly dealing with moving away from growth-based economic systems, managing population growth through better access to reproductive health care, and making dramatic shifts away from animal agriculture so that we can put a big-ass dent in greenhouse gas emissions.
On top of that, the letter suggests that we begin protecting as much of the planet as we can stop deforestation or even conversation of grassland for agricultural use. We’d also need to address the massive wealth inequality that lends itself to unsustainable resource consumption and the real costs they have on our environment, and, of course, massive adoption of renewable energy sources so that we can, hopefully, move away from fossil fuels permanently.
You may not like a lot of these suggestions. You might think it’s your right to pollute as much as you please. But your actions are not your own. Every choice you make affects others. We’re all stuck on this planet together and I, for one, would like to continue breathing and eating and shit.
“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,” the letter warns. “We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions that Earth all its life is our only home.”