Humankind is getting warnings from the brightest minds of its kind. Over 15,000 scientists have recently signed a warning letter to humanity, called "A Second Notice." In the letter the experts have warned the mankind against a catastrophic biodiversity loss and, as a result, widespread misery for humans. This is the second time the scientists have come up with this cautionary message for us to make major changes.
The open letter, which has been signed by 15,364 scientists from 184 countries, was published in BioScience. This huge group of scientists, led by William J. Ripple of Oregon State University, is pleading the humans to cut out on greenhouse gas emissions, phase out fossil fuels, reduce deforestation and reverses the trend of collapsing biodiversity. BioScience is a monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal that is published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.
"Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home," concludes the letter.
Back in 1992, a group of scientists had signed another letter, namely "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity." On the 25th anniversary of that first warning letter, now the scientists have published the second one, saying humanity has mostly failed at solving the problems and that will most probably lead to "vast human misery," according to the first letter.
As per the letter, since 1960, freshwater resources and vertebrate species have decreased by around 25%, marine dead zones have skyrocketed by three-quarters and Carbon dioxide emissions have rapidly increased by 62%. Add to that, the human population around the globe has increased by 35% and livestock by 20%.
The authors write in the letter, "Moreover we have unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century."
The only one ray of hope in the recent times has been the decrease of ozone-depleting chemicals by 68%.
"The rapid global decline in ozone-depleting substances shows that we can make positive change when we act decisively. We have also made advancements in reducing extreme poverty and hungry," reads the letter. Other global successes that the scientists have mentioned in the warning letter include a decline in fertility rates, decline in deforestation, and rapid growth in the renewable-energy sector, however; all of these are happening in certain regions and not across the entire world.
The scientists have also presented us with several solutions, which they have found out through their vigorous research. Although neither of them is easy, they have the potential to still reverse or at least restrain humanity's current trajectory, believe the worried experts.
One of the solutions, proposed by the scientists is to phase out the use of fossil fuels and increase eco-friendly technologies and renewable energy. Moreover, according to them, humans should divest from fossil fuels altogether. Divestment, which refers to the ending of monetary investments of fossil fuels, would "encourage positive environmental change," says the letter.
Eating more plant-based foods as well as reducing food waste overall would also curb the approaching disaster, predict the scientists. The best way to achieve it is through education and better infrastructure, they believe.
Prioritizing reserves for the world's land, marine, freshwater, and aerial habitats and maintaining nature's "ecosystem services" by ending the alteration of forests, grasslands, and other native habitats also made its way into the recommendation list.
The scientists also urged people to have fewer kids and in turn reduce the population of the world. The uncontrolled growth of human population poses a serious risk to the existence of mankind on the Earth as the resources are depleting at a tremendously fast rate.
However, after all the warnings and predictions about the end of humankind, the scientists concluded the letter with a positive note, saying, "We can make great progress for the sake of humanity and the planet on which we depend."