A catastrophic warning about humanity’s impending doom was just signed by 15,000 scientists; they all agree that we’ve already sealed our fate.
The signed letter, which was apparently first written in 1992, claims all of the predictions made by scientists have come true except one. Apart from the hole in the ozone layer, which has now stabilized, every one of the major threats identified in 1992 has worsened.
The prophetic warning letter from 1992 argued human impacts on the natural world were likely to lead to “vast human misery” and a planet that was “irretrievably mutilated.” Climate change, deforestation, loss of access to fresh water, animal species extinctions, and uncontrolled human population growth are all threatening mankind’s and the Earth’s future.
It’s been about 25 years since the first doomsday warning letter was signed and scientists are now saying that the Earth is in even more dire shape. More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries said humans had “unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years.”
The message, which was posted online and is an update to the original Warning from the Union of Concerned Scientists and around 1,700 signatories delivered in 1992. The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity was written and spearheaded by the late Henry Kendall, former chair of UCS’s board of directors. But scientists still agree that runaway consumption of natural resources by an exploding population remains the biggest danger facing humankind, say the scientists.
In the more recent doomsday warning, scientists warn that human beings should eat less meat, have fewer kids, consume less, and use green energy to save the planet. In the past 25 years, scientists have pointed out the following:
- The amount of fresh water available per head of population worldwide has reduced by 26 percent.
- The number of ocean “dead zones” (places where little can live because of pollution and oxygen starvation) has increased by 75 percent.
- Nearly 300 million acres of forest have been lost, mostly to make way for agricultural land.
- Global carbon emissions and average temperatures have shown continued significant increases.
- Human population has risen by 35 percent.
- Collectively the number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and fish in the world has fallen by 29 percent.
According to the letter, “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. By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize 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 imperiled biosphere.”
Professor William Ripple at Oregon State University said: “Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist. Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences.” He said that those who signed this second warning aren’t just raising a false alarm, they are warning of impending doom as well. “They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path,” D. Ripple said. “We are hoping that our paper will ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate.”
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