Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A "warning to humanity"

Mankind is facing the existential threat of runaway consumption of limited resources by a rapidly growing population. And "scientists, media influencers and lay citizens" aren't doing enough to fight against it, according to the letter, signed by 15,364 scientists from 184 countriesA host of environmental calamities are highlighted in the warning notice, including catastrophic climate change, deforestation, mass species extinction, ocean "dead zones", and lack of access to fresh water.

The message updates an original warning sent from the Union of Concerned Scientists that was backed by 1,700 signatures 25 years ago. But the experts say the picture is far, far worse than it was in 1992, and that almost all of the problems identified then have simply been exacerbated. Only the hole in the ozone layer has improved since the first letter was written, and the letter urges humanity to use that as an example of what can happen when it acts decisively. But every single other threat has just got worse, they write, and there is not long left before those changes can never be reversed. In their original warning, scientists including most of the world's Nobel Laureates argued that human impacts on the natural world were likely to lead to "vast human misery"

If the world doesn't act soon, there be catastrophic biodiversity loss and untold amounts of human misery, they warn.  Humanity isn't doing nearly enough to make the most of them and soon won't be able to reverse its fate. 
"Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out," the letter warns. "We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home."

 US ecologist Professor William Ripple, from Oregon State University, said: "Humanity is now being given a second notice ... We are jeopardising 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. By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivise 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."

Prof Ripple said: "Those who signed this second warning aren't just raising a false alarm. They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path." Prof Ripple and his colleagues have formed a new independent organisation called the Alliance of World Scientists to voice concerns about environmental sustainability and the fate of humanity.

In the past 25 years:
  • The amount of fresh water available per head of population worldwide has reduced by 26%.
  • The number of ocean "dead zones" - places where little can live because of pollution and oxygen starvation - has increased by 75%.
  • Nearly 300 million acres of forest have been lost, mostly to make way for agricultural land.
  • Global carbon emissions and average temperatures have shown continued significant increases.
  • Human population has risen by 35%.
  • Collectively the number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish in the world has fallen by 29%.
This blog well understands the environmental threats those scientists predict but we must, and we must emphasise this, that those scientists themselves must learn and heed the message from socialists from all around the world. The need to stop climate change is system change. 

Our warning is summed up in the words of Iztvan Meszaros that or choice is "socialism or barbarism...barbarism if we are lucky."

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