15,000+ Climate Scientists Warn Us That Society Has To Change
More than 15,000 scientists signed an open letter to the world this week and they painted a bleak picture of the situation with the climate. “World Scientists’ Warning To Humanity: A Second Notice” follows up on a letter written 25 years ago and signed by 1,700 scientists. The first warning highlighted ozone depletion, the pollution and overuse of freshwater, the loss of marine life, ocean dead zones, deforestation, reduced biodiversity, climate change, and growing human populations. Of those issues, the now-closed hole in the ozone is the only situation that has improved.
The retrospective found that since the first warning all of the indicators had continued on an upward trajectory except the rates of ozone depletors. Rates of carbon dioxide increased to more than 30 gigatons per year, from around 20. The population hit seven billion people. And the sixth Great Extinction event began.
This conversation continues the debacle of this summer when David Wallace-Wells wrote ‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ in the NYMag. Read my coverage here.
Before we go on to talk to solutions I want you to take a gander through a verse or two of this music video made by The Revolution Choir, it’s titled ‘Climate Change’.
The potential solutions to the problem highlighted by the authors of the paper are listed below:
(a) prioritizing the enactment of connected well-funded and well-managed reserves for a significant proportion of the world’s terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial habitats;
(b) maintaining nature’s ecosystem services by halting the conversion of forests, grasslands, and other native habitats;
(c) restoring native plant communities at large scales, particularly forest landscapes;
(d) rewilding regions with native species, especially apex predators, to restore ecological processes and dynamics;
(e) developing and adopting adequate policy instruments to remedy defaunation, the poaching crisis, and the exploitation and trade of threatened species;
(f) reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure;
(g) promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods;
(h) further reducing fertility rates by ensuring that women and men have access to education and voluntary family-planning services, especially where such resources are still lacking;
(i) increasing outdoor nature education for children, as well as the overall engagement of society in the appreciation of nature;
(j) divesting of monetary investments and purchases to encourage positive environmental change;
(k) devising and promoting new green technologies and massively adopting renewable energy sources while phasing out subsidies to energy production through fossil fuels;
(l) revising our economy to reduce wealth inequality and ensure that prices, taxation, and incentive systems take into account the real costs which consumption patterns impose on our environment; and
(m) estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.
All of the suggestions above question conventional wisdom about the values our society holds and our understanding of what makes an economy strong. There is no use in worrying about decreased sales when there are crop failures to worry about. The collapse of a too-big-to-fail bank can’t cause comparable devastation to life on earth as the ice shelf recedes, and the oceans and temperatures rise.
The projects above approach the world as a complex system that can heal itself if humanity allows it to breathe so its cycles can rebalance themselves. The current models see the earth as a consumable good with eternal abundance.
Lets check back in 25 years to see how we did.