15,000 scientists from around the world have issued a “warning to humanity” on climate change. The message is actually an update to the first warning that was sent 25 years ago from the Union of Concerned Scientists. At the time the warning was backed by 1,700 scientists. The new message emphasizes that the situation is a lot worse than it appeared to be 25 years ago. It continues to state that the problems that had been identified two and half decades ago have only been exacerbated.
Rapid consumption of finite resources and exploding global population growth are two of the factors cited as posing an enormous risk to humanity. The letter also criticizes scientists, media influencers, and scientifically illiterate citizens for not doing enough to counter these issues.
“If humanity fails to act now, the world will suffer a catastrophic loss of species,” the letter adds.
This would mark the beginning of a tenuous proposition for the human race.
Despite this, the scientists say that there has been an improvement in reducing the hole in the Ozone layer. They feel that this success should serve as an inspiration to the world. Results can be achieved if concerted efforts are put to address some of the challenges that we are facing at the moment.
However, even though things are now worse, there is still hope. The scientists believe that the world can still be saved but we are running out of time. The letter suggests that the very first step we should take is to acknowledge and truly see that Earth is the only home we have. It also highlighted a number of environmental calamities, including catastrophic climate change, extinction of species, deforestation, and ocean “dead zones.”
The group of scientists is led by US ecologist Professor William Ripple. Over 15,000 scientists from 184 countries around the world supported the letter and appended their signatures to it. Professor Ripple, writing on the International Journal of BioScience noted that humanity was being given a second chance to act. He added that the increased uneven material consumption and rapid population growth are jeopardizing our future.
The letter pointed out that over the last 25 years:
● The total amount of fresh water available per head has decreased by 26%.
Ocean “dead zones” have increased by 75%. Dead zones are places in the ocean where nothing can survive due to pollution.
● 300 million acres of forest have already been lost to mostly pave way for agricultural land.
● There has been a steady increase in carbon emissions with average temperatures also rising.
● The world population has increased by 35%.
● The number of reptiles, mammals, fish, birds, and amphibians has collectively reduced by 29%.
To this effect, Professor Ripple and his colleagues have decided to form an independent organization called the Alliance of World Scientists. The organization will serve a lobbyist group to voice the environmental concerns that the world is facing now. Climate change has always been a big issue although the level of awareness has been low.
It will be interesting to see whether this new open letter will have any effect in this regard.