Worldwide

More than 15000 scientists issue 'warning to humanity'

But it seems that their cries for change went unheard, leading to a new letter to be issued by 15,000 scientists from 184 different countries.

More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries worldwide, including scores from MA universities, have signed a letter warning that Earth's environment is on the road to destruction. It warned the human race of the perils Earth would face due to the impacts that humans had on the natural world, claiming that such behavior would lead to "vast human misery" and a planet that was "irretrievably mutilated".

"By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivise 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 imperilled biosphere".

"Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist", said William Ripple, one of the authors and a professor at the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. "Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences". Those who signed this second warning aren't just raising a false alarm.

The researchers document a number of negative environmental trends including; continuing increases in global carbon emissions and average temperatures; a 26% reduction in available fresh water per person; a 75% increase in the number of ocean dead zones; a loss of almost 300 million acres of forestland, much of it converted to agricultural use; a drop in the number of wild fish caught, despite increased fishing efforts; a 29% reduction in the number of mammal, reptile, amphibian, fish and bird species; and a 35% increase in the human population.

The number of signatories may be the largest for any published scientific paper ever, said co-author Thomas Newsome, a research fellow at Deakin University and The University of Sydney.

The Doomsday letter, a warning to humanity, was first written in 1992 and signed by 1,500 scientists, the Daily Mail reports. Discussion about the article is circulating on Twitter, under the #ScientistsWarningtoHumanity hashtag.

The warning came with steps that can be taken to reverse negative trends, but the authors suggested that it may take a groundswell of public pressure to convince political leaders to take the right corrective actions.

"It's an overwhelming response we didn't quite expect", he said in a statement.

Progress in some areas - such as a reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals and an increase in energy generated from renewable sources - shows that positive changes can be made, the authors wrote.



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