Your help needed in distributing this: it’s important

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!


Dear Colleagues:

We are writing to express our deepest gratitude for your signature on the Scientists’ Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century.  The statement was launched May 23, 2013, with a joint presentation by participating scientists and California Governor Jerry Brown, leader of the world’s ninth largest economy, and with an announcement in Nature on May 30, 2013 (in the Correspondence section, attached).  Representative news links about the initial launch are pasted in at the end of this e-mail.
As of May 21st, the statement had been signed by more than 520 prominent scientists (=YOU) from 44 countries that cover most of the world, including dozens of members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and equivalent scientific bodies from other countries. 
Our next goals are to deliver the statement to President Obama, all members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, and all state governors, and ultimately to leaders throughout the world in both government and business. 
For the consensus statement to have an impact, it will need strong endorsement by thousands of scientists and at least tens of thousands of members of the general public.  Since the launch on May 23 when we opened signing to everyone, we have received hundreds of new signatures per day, and have added citizens of more than 10 additional countries.  The response has been remarkable!   We will carry on with our work, but you can continue to help as well.  
Please help to get the word out to family, friends, business leaders, politicians, other scientists.  The document is now open for all global citizens to sign. 
1) The statement is available to download and sign at
2) Please continue to widely broadcast the statement and the opportunity to sign it on your social media networks, such as e-mail, twitter, and Facebook.
Thank you for your help.
Elizabeth A. Hadly* 
*on behalf of the Consensus authors: Anthony D. Barnosky, James H. Brown, Gretchen C. Daily, Rodolfo Dirzo, Anne H. Ehrlich, Paul R. Ehrlich, Jussi T. Eronen, Mikael Fortelius, Elizabeth A. Hadly, Estella B. Leopold, Harold A. Mooney, John Peterson Myers, Rosamond L. Naylor, Stephen Palumbi, Nils Chr. Stenseth, & Marvalee H. Wake

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,
starting today: 

1. Climate Disruption 
2. Extinctions 
3. Loss of Ecosystem Diversity 
4. Pollution 
5. Human Population Growth and Resource Consumption.

(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.)



Elizabeth A. Hadly
Paul S. & Billie Achilles Chair of Environmental Biology
Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-5020
ph:  650-725-2655 

Twitter: @LizHadly

3 thoughts on “Your help needed in distributing this: it’s important

  1. Pingback: What we’ve been reading this week – One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

  2. 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!


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