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The second urgent warning to humanity has been signed by 15,000 scientists: Stop destroying the plan

"Stop the effects of climate change, avoid further deforestation and devastation of species before it is too late!" This is the main message of an open letter, which was launched in the beginning of November in the academic journal Bioscience titled "Warning to Humankind." With his text and an urgent message, he expressed his approval by signing more than 15,000 scientists from a total of 184 countries. For example, he writes about BigThink.

Selecting a journal for publication is not accidental. A similar warning has already been published a quarter of a century ago when the so-called Association of Interested Scientists warned against the negative impacts of climate change and, above all, ignoring the consequences of human activities. Twenty-five years ago, however, the signatories of the letter were ten times less. "On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the warning of our colleagues, we decided to look back and evaluate humanity's response to a set of available data," reads the current Warnings. "We are particularly drastic about the current trends in potentially catastrophic climate change due to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere (as a result of fossil fuel burning), deforestation and agriculture, especially in relation to ruminant farming for meat production."

Extinction, thirst and hunger

The authors also state that mankind has managed to launch a mass extinction of animals that does not match with five similar episodes that have taken place on Earth over 540 million years. "For this we can see how the present organisms are thinned or condemned to extinction, with a view to not ending the end of this century." The warning text deals in more detail with the most pressing global problems whose condition, despite the previous warning since 1992, worsened. Indeed, their list does not give much room for an optimistic view of the future of humanity. For example, significant interference and disturbance in hydrological cycles disrupted the availability of drinking water. For humanity, for example, only half the amount of water (per capita) available today is comparable to the 1960s.

Industrial fishing is also unsustainable: in 1992 it was "above the tolerable threshold" and the entire global sea fishing sector was threatened with collapse. However, the fishing effort has not been reduced, on the contrary, the efforts of fishermen have increased, despite the fact that total catches are decreasing. There are other wounds in the oceans, mostly in the form of sewage and water spillage promoted by fertilizers and pesticides. These, along with oil accidents, create so-called dead zones in the oceans. These are water surfaces with a hypoxic environment (with a depleted supply of oxygen) where only minimal aquatic organisms can survive. Dead zones can be considered as a major limiting / disruptive element in more than 600 marine ecosystems, according to Writers.

A world full of connections

Everything is of course connected with everything, and it is not possible to extract individual points of the problem from a deeper context. An example is the loss of forests, or the deforestation of large areas. From 1990 to 2015, the area of ​​wooded areas fell from 4,128 million hectares to 3,999 million. It is not "just" about the loss of forest territory, the loss of trees threatens the carbon balance of the entire regions, deforestation equals far-reaching loss of biodiversity and threatens the water regime. About 129 million hectares of forests per year are lost, an area comparable to that of South Africa. Similar is the loss of biodiversity that reaches alarming heights. Both the absolute number of species and their abundance. The global stock of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals fell 58% between 1970 and 2012. Even climate change is not an "illusion": it is no coincidence that the ten warmest years in the historical record (for 136 years back) will be counted from 1998 .

Growth in the middle class is worse than overpopulation

The problem that has not yet been solved is the rate of growth of the human population. Since 1992, the planet's population has increased by two billion (or 35%), and it can be expected that 9.6-12.3 billion people could live here in 2100. But more people mean one thing: that the aforementioned problems will tend to escalate more quickly to extreme scenarios.

"It's not just an increase in the total number of people, but rather a rise in the middle class,"
explains Eileen Crist, co-author of the Warnings. "It's about three billion people today. And in 2050, they could be up to five billion. This is not the number but the impact they have. " People in the middle class are among those who already have purchasing power. They buy cars, electronics, travel. Tens of millions of middle-class representatives have such an impact on the environment as hundreds of millions of people from lower ones.

Changes are possible, but everyone needs it

The listing of all the major complications and global problems has a rather deterrent overlap, yet, at the end, it mentions one positive example. This reduces the size of the so-called ozone hole. Since 1992, there has been a significant improvement, inter alia linked to a global campaign and a decade-long effort to ban the industrial use of ozone-depleting chemicals. "And in the rapid global fall, the ozone layer disturbing substances can see an example of a positive change if we decide to act in time," the authors said.

Other positive changes can, for example, be made in the area of ​​reducing extreme poverty and famine in some regions, or in reducing birth rates in regions with increasing female education. As promising, the authors consider the development of renewable energy sources and hope they perceive some countries' efforts to reduce deforestation. "We have learned a lot since 1992, but progress in environmental policy, human behavior and global inequality is still very poor."

What about the environmental crisis?

The authors mention the five key points of the strategy for the coming years: Stop environmental damage and restore protection for the integrity of the ecosystems on which we depend. Start managing resources that are necessary for human well-being in a more effective way. It is necessary to stabilize the human population. It is necessary to reduce and subsequently eliminate human poverty. And it is necessary to ensure gender equality and to guarantee to women around the world their own control over reproduction.

Author: Radomír Dohnal

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