The Alliance of World Scientists (AWS); a collective international voice of many scientists regarding global climate and environmental trends, have issued a warning to humanity which has been endorsed by 15,000 scientists from 184 countries – so far.
Twenty-five years ago, the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” was created. In this, authors called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.” In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth. They proclaimed that fundamental changes were urgently needed to avoid the consequences our present course would bring. They feared that humanity was pushing Earth’s ecosystems beyond their capacities to support the web of life.
On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, the AWS have looked back at their warning to evaluate the human response. The key finding is that humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse. They found:
- A decline in freshwater availability.
- Unsustainable marine fisheries.
- Ocean dead zones.
- Forest losses.
- Dwindling biodiversity.
- Climate change.
- Population growth.
Especially troubling to the AWS, is the current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs from burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and agricultural production – particularly from farming ruminants for meat consumption.
The growing global middle class is also a key contribution to these alarming findings. People begin to increase their carbon footprint as they buy appliances and cars, eat more meat and travel more.
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