Telling it like it is on the environment

Environment scientists in Australia and the US have reviewed the evidence and found that future environmental conditions will be far more dangerous than currently believed. Here is a link to their report and the article in The Conversation today.

Here are excerpts and their suggestions on what can be done. We agree.

A bad situation only getting worse

The human population has reached 7.8 billion – double what it was in 1970 – and is set to reach about 10 billion by 2050. More people equals more food insecurity, soil degradation, plastic pollution and biodiversity loss. 

High population densities make pandemics more likely. They also drive overcrowding, unemployment, housing shortages and deteriorating infrastructure, and can spark conflicts leading to insurrections, terrorism, and war.

Essentially, humans have created an ecological Ponzi scheme. Consumption, as a percentage of Earth’s capacity to regenerate itself, has grown from 73% in 1960 to more than 170% today

High-consuming countries like Australia, Canada and the US use multiple units of fossil-fuel energy to produce one energy unit of food. Energy consumption will therefore increase in the near future, especially as the global middle class grows.

Then there’s climate change. Humanity has already exceeded global warming of 1°C this century, and will almost assuredly exceed 1.5 °C between 2030 and 2052. Even if all nations party to the Paris Agreement ratify their commitments, warming would still reach between 2.6°C and 3.1°C by 2100.

Changing course

Fundamental change is required to avoid this ghastly future. Specifically, we and many others suggest: 

abolishing the goal of perpetual economic growth
– revealing the true cost of products and activities by forcing those who damage the environment to pay for its restoration, such as through carbon pricing
– rapidly eliminating fossil fuels
– regulating markets by curtailing monopolisation and limiting undue corporate influence on policy
– reigning in corporate lobbying of political representatives
– educating and empowering women across the globe, including giving them control over family planning
  • Corey J. A. Bradshaw Matthew Flinders Professor of Global Ecology and Models Theme Leader for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, Flinders University
  • Daniel T. Blumstein Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Paul Ehrlich President, Center for Conservation Biology, Bing Professor of Population Studies, Stanford University
Share this: