By Joern Fischer
I just received the following email. It relates to a consensus statement by scientists about the need for urgent, bold action for sustainability. Please read the message below, follow the link, and HELP DISTRIBUTE this. It is headed, and has been endorsed, by some of the best ecologists in the world. Thank you!
Scientists’ Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century
Earth is rapidly approaching a tipping point. Human impacts are causing alarming levels of harm
to our planet. As scientists who study the interaction of people with the rest of the biosphere using a wide range of approaches, we agree that the evidence that humans are damaging their ecological life-support systems is overwhelming.
We further agree that, based on the best scientific information available, human quality of life will suffer substantial degradation by the year 2050 if we continue on our current path.
Science unequivocally demonstrates the human impacts of key concern:
•Climate disruption–more, faster climate change than since humans first became a species.
•Extinctions–not since the dinosaurs went extinct have so many species and populations died out so fast, both on land and in the oceans.
•Wholesale loss of diverse ecosystems–we have plowed, paved, or otherwise transformed more than 40% of Earth’s ice-free land, and no place on land or in the sea is free of our direct or indirect influences.
•Pollution–environmental contaminants in the air, water and land are at record levels and increasing, seriously harming people and wildlife in unforeseen ways.
•Human population growth and consumption patterns–seven billion people alive today will likely grow to 9.5 billion by 2050, and the pressures of heavy material consumption among the middle class and wealthy may well intensify.
By the time today’s children reach middle age, it is extremely likely that Earth’s life-support systems, critical for human prosperity and existence, will be irretrievably damaged by the magnitude, global extent, and combination of these human-caused environmental stressors, unless we take concrete, immediate actions to ensure a sustainable, high-quality future.
As members of the scientific community actively involved in assessing the biological and societal impacts of global change, we are sounding this alarm to the world. For humanity’s continued health and prosperity, we all–individuals, businesses, political leaders, religious leaders, scientists, and people in every walk of lifemust work hard to solve these five global problems,
(As of May 21, 2013, the full statement was signed by 521 global change experts from 44 countries. Those signatures
were obtained within a month of completion of the statement, by direct email requests from the authors and their close colleagues to a targeted group of well-regarded global change scientists. The signers include 2 Nobel Laureates, 33 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 42 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and several members of scientific academies in other countries.)
Paul S. & Billie Achilles Chair of Environmental Biology
Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment
Stanford, CA 94305-5020
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Dear Prof. Fischer,
I apologize for showing skepticism on your virtual space. But have you read the statement? the entire document? When I read it , I got a feeling that the text was not written by scientists (style and the way of reasoning). And how do you feel about statement of population overgrowth? It might be used by politicians to justify quit a dangerous actions. I feel that scientist must be very careful and very precise in what they mean when they are saying such things.
Thanks for your comment. I did not read every word of it, but read enough to know I fundamentally agree. It is a problem in its own right that us scientists “disagree” so much that we can’t even get a basic statement out: WE ARE DESTROYING THE WORLD. This is the main statement, and it needs to be said. Regarding population growth, it is an issue that fundamentally MUST be addressed. The best solutions are female education, especially secondary education, and culturally appropriate access to family planning. It must be part of the discussion.
I am against simplistic recipes on how to fix complex problems — but I do believe it is critically important that we get those problems discussed, “out there”, not just in our scientific journals.
I think this initiative — headed by some of the world’s leading ecologists — is very worthwhile for that reason. I do not believe that I need to agree with every sentence in the document to feel comfortable in adding my name to it.
But discussion is a good thing, so thanks again for your critical thoughts on this!