Thousands of scientists warn that humanity is heading for destruction.
No less than fifteen thousand scientists from all over the world including many Nobel Prize winners have signed an open letter warning that humanity is sowing the seeds of its own destruction.
The letter is effectively an update of the famous Warning from the Union of Concerned Scientists which was written an issued in 1992. In the original letter, many renowned scientists warned the general public that human activity was pushing the planet to breaking point and that if things were not improved that humanity could essentially become the architects of their own destruction.
In 1992, these scientists warned the hole in the ozone needed to be stabilized as soon as possible. The new letter acknowledges that this has actually been achieved. However, all of the other concerns listed by the scientists in the original letter have only got worse over the years. They point out that the amount of fresh water per head of the human population has reduced by 26% in the past twenty-five years.
The Greatest Threat to Existence as We Know it
There has also been an astronomical increase in the number of ocean dead zones where very few forms of life can thrive because of rampant pollution and oxygen starvation. Deforestation has also continued in force since the original letter was penned. Since 1992, an additional 300 million acres of forests have been cut down, mainly to make way for new agricultural lands. They have also pointed out that despite the stabilization of the ozone layer, that the other symptoms of climate change have continued unabated and appear to be increasing year by year. Furthermore, while the human population has risen by 35% in the past twenty-five years, the population of mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish have fallen by 29%.
For the scientists, these factors are indisputably a recipe for catastrophe and humanity must take note before it becomes too late. According to the US ecologist Professor William Ripple, based at Oregon State University who was in charge of writing and distributing the letter, “Humanity is now being given a second notice. 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.” Professor Ripple continued, “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.”
Professor 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.” This time, he says, he hopes that the world will take notice of these dire warnings. “We are hoping that our paper will ignite a widespread public debate about the global environment and climate, ” he said. If world leaders do not heed the warning this time, the processes that will lead to the destruction of this world may well prove to be irreversible.