Scientists Warn of Global Dangers
“Humanity is on a collision course with Nature.
A damaged Nature will survive. We may not.
We must change course to avert an ecological disaster.”
“Humanity is on a collision course with Nature.
A damaged Nature will survive. We may not.
We must change course to avert an ecological disaster.”
GR: This is the 25-year update of the warning scientists gave in 1992.
“More than 15,000 scientists have signed a chilling article titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” urging global leaders to save the planet from environmental catastrophe.
“The plea, published Monday in the international journal BioScience, is likely the largest-ever formal support by scientists for a journal article with 15,372 total signatories, Motherboard noted. The scientists represent 184 countries and have a range of scientific backgrounds. Prominent signatories include Jane Goodall, E.O. Wilson and James Hansen.
“The “Second Notice”—an update to the original version published 25 years ago by the Union of Concerned Scientists and signed by 1,700 scientists then—underscores the lack of progress from the original document.
“The first notice started with this statement: “Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.” It described trends such as the growing hole in the ozone layer, pollution and depletion of freshwater sources, overfishing, deforestation, plummeting wildlife populations, as well as unsustainable rises in greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures and human population levels.
“Unfortunately, the authors of the current article said that humanity has failed to progress on most of the measures.
“They ominously warned, “time is running out.”
“William J. Ripple, lead author of the current article and a distinguished professor of ecology at Oregon State University, told the Associated Press he was stunned by the level of support for the manuscript.
“I initially sent it out to 40 of my colleagues,” he explained. “After 24 hours there were 600 scientists who signed it. Within two days, there were 1,200. There were so many people signing that our website crashed a couple of times.”
“According to the AP, the researchers document a number of alarming trends from 1992 to 2016, such as a 28.9 percent reduction of vertebrate wildlife, a 62.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions, a 167.6 percent rise in global average annual temperature change and a 35.5 percent increase in the global population (about 2 billion people).” –Lorraine Chow (More: https://www.ecowatch.com/scientists-environmental-warning-2509347840.html.)
GR: Not all members of the U. S. Congress ignore the long-term benefits of nature conservation. Here is a list of the top ten Senators that give the most support to nature. These Senators refuse the riches offered by the fossil-fuel and chemical industries and try to do the right thing. Click this link for more information on U. S. politicians’ concern for nature. Here’s the report by Lorraine Chow (Ecowatch).
“But Franken—who is dipping into his comedic roots in a hilarious new web series about climate change—isn’t the only U.S. senator who consistently champions environmental safeguards.
“Citing data from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Business Insider recently featured 10 senators with the best voting records on environmental legislation.
“Unsurprisingly, every senator on the list is a Democrat. Meanwhile, we could probably count with two hands the number of Republicans in Congress who think climate change is even real.
“The stakes for protecting the environment and public health have never been higher and the threats have never been greater,” the LCV said earlier this year. “We must do more than ever to work with our allies in Congress—and mobilize the public—to fight the Trump administration and the extreme Congressional leadership who want to roll back our bedrock environmental laws and President Obama’s incredible progress.”
“You might be scratching your head wondering why Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t on this list. Well, you might remember that last year he was very busy “running his historic presidential campaign,” as Josh Fox pointed out in this blog post, and missed some critical environmental votes.” –Lorraine Chow (10 Best Environmental Records in the Senate).
GR: Of course, Trump and his band of nature trolls will ignore the experts. Nevertheless, the thoughts of each one are worth reporting. And remember, global warming is one of the reasons that the doomsday clock is at two and a half minutes to midnight.
“President Donald Trump’s March 28 Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth is but the latest in a series of rollbacks intended to dismantle the Obama administration’s climate change policies. Although Trump never uttered the words “climate change” during the signing ceremony, his order will have profound effects on programs and environmental protections intended to rein in global warming—primarily by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
“Among other things, Trump’s order lifts a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands, removes restrictions on fracking on federal and tribal lands, directs the Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite the Clean Power Plan regulations designed to limit emissions from power plants, and eliminates the requirement that climate change be considered in federal environmental reviews and decision making. The White House claims that these moves will bring back jobs in coal mining and foster energy independence.
“The order does not entirely obliterate Obama’s climate legacy. The Clean Power Plan is not yet in effect, and will have to go through a lengthy rule-making process that will likely include legal challenges. Vehicle fuel-efficiency standards are still standing, although the White House says a rollback is coming soon. State mandates for renewable energy, along with other efforts aimed at reducing emissions, will continue. And the White House is thus far silent on whether the president intends to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
“Some critics say the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks are even worse than they expected, and that it will be impossible for the United States to achieve its Paris pledges without the programs and protections that are being cut. Others see a silver lining for the Paris Agreement: Maybe the failure of US leadership will clear the way for other nations to work toward a more ambitious shift away from fossil fuels.
“We asked leading experts on climate change to weigh in on what the Trump rollbacks mean for climate change, and for the Paris Agreement in particular. Here are their thoughts.Invited
“Expert Commentary” — Dawn Stover (Continue: Experts respond to Trump’s climate blitzkrieg | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Block Trump. Declare World War on Global Warming and Other Human Impacts on Nature
Scientists report that growth and spread of humanity together with rising global temperature are causing declining biodiversity, rising seas, growing storms, intensifying drought, spreading disease, and much more. The reports, made by observers all over the world, are like the thunder ahead of a storm that threatens the safety of our families, our friends, our civilization, and all life on our planet. We know it’s coming. Without a massive effort by the people of the world, the storm will grow until terrible destruction ruins our planet. We and all other life may be lost.
Donald Trump’s pre-inauguration statements and cabinet choices make it clear that he will add to global warming and every other negative human impact on Earth.
The Earth continues turning, but if we don’t exert some self-discipline there might one day be no minds that know or eyes that see.
Global warming and human population growth are the destructors. They are greater even than fear, hate, and desire;
Together, they threaten humanity and all life on Earth.
Polls show that sixty-four percent of Americans believe global warming is occurring. The number is growing. When the first distant rumbles occurred, we said, “Ah, it might help if we quit burning so much coal, oil, and gas.” Later we said, “Hmm, maybe we need to quit clearing so much land for cities and farms.” And as the danger loomed, we added to the list of things we should do. But we haven’t done much, and the danger has arrived. We are even beginning to realize that the coming storm might be self-sustaining. Global warming might have passed the point at which we can stop it. Seas and soils are warming and releasing their stores of carbon, and the great glaciers are melting and exposing open water. Warming might continue even if we halt all burning and building.
Global Warming is at the brink and looking down the slip face of runaway self-sustaining increase beyond our control. The research shows that global warming is already rotting organic matter stored in the tundra and on the ocean floor. Global warming is increasing evaporation and humidity. Global warming is causing soil microbes to release carbon. Methane (CH4), water vapor (H2O), and soil carbon (C in various forms) are joining carbon dioxide (CO2) from burning and are all working together to trap more of the incoming solar energy. The buildup of these gases appears to have taken us past the point at which we can prevent the great storms, droughts, and rising seas. By adding CH4 and H2O to CO2, we are unleashing an exponential spiral that will end human civilization in decades, not centuries. And not far beyond that, end all life on Earth.
Even if there was no greenhouse gas and global warming, the spreading human population will eventually wipe out most life on Earth. Already, more than half of all animals are gone, replaced by humans. Family planning, like cutting greenhouse gas, has become an emergency requirement for sustaining life on Earth.
I can’t quite bring myself to believe that our civilization will end within decades. I still believe that we could stop global warming if we make a total effort.
Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say they are worried a “great deal” or “fair amount” about global warming. The U. S. adult population totals 242+ million (over age 18). Sixty-four percent equals 154+ million.
For those with concern for the future of society and their children, I find it intolerable to say that we must wait and see what happens. Instead, I have a proposal for action:
Leadership in the U. S. and most other nations is not responding to the growing human impact and the global warming threat. I propose that we declare a citizens’ war on the behaviors causing the impacts and threats. We can begin by forcing our elected leaders and our business leaders to organize and lead the war on warming and population growth. We need their help to convert the world’s industries, economies, and societies to the needed total effort to save Earth and us.
Other thinkers are saying the same thing. Here’s Michael Moore’s action plan:
Our local action group is forming now and will try to make visits to some of our representatives next week.
GR: Efforts to deal with the climate and biodiversity emergencies we have created may depend primarily on civil disobedience. Here’s a link for signing on to support the one below.
“Opponents of a contentious Canadian pipeline project are preparing for a lengthy, multifaceted battle that will see thousands take to the country’s streets, courts and legislatures to contest the government’s recent approval of the project.
“Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that the Liberal government had cleared the way for Kinder Morgan’s C$6.8bn Trans Mountain Expansion project. Designed to transport Alberta’s landlocked bitumen to international markets via Vancouver’s harbour, the project will expand an existing pipeline to nearly triple capacity on the artery to 890,000 barrels a day.
“But the decision will run into a roar of opposition, said grand chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. “The marches and rallies will intensify. It will become more litigious, it will become more political and the battle will continue.”
“More than 14,000 people have so far signed his organisation’s pledge to halt the project, driven by concerns over environmental risks, First Nations rights and the fight against climate change.
“Other actions are also being planned, from a public interest group that has signed up hundreds of volunteers to canvass signatures for citizen-drafted legislation to block the pipeline to a group that is working to train its members on how best to physically block construction.
“Let’s be clear,” said Caitlyn Vernon of the Sierra Club of British Columbia. “Prime minister Trudeau has picked a fight with British Columbians by approving Kinder Morgan – and it starts now. The Kinder Morgan pipeline will not be built. Not on our watch.” –Ashifa Kassam (continue reading: Kinder Morgan pipeline: Canadians intensify huge opposition to expansion | World news | The Guardian
GR: The Corr of Engineers did not send an eviction notice. The letter was merely trying to avoid liability. There isn’t much new here, but we have to be pleased with news media that report on the issue.
“Despite a government order to vacate, tribal leaders as well as demonstrators camped out in Standing Rock, North Dakota, say they are staying put.
“In a letter sent Friday to Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the Army Corps of Engineers said they will be closing a portion of the land north of the Cannonball River on December 5, and that anyone on that land will be “considered trespassing and may be subject to prosecution under federal, state and local laws.”
“It’s unclear if the Corps will take steps to arrest or remove people who stay. The Army Corps of Engineers did not respond to my request for comment. One thing’s for sure: It would take a major effort to remove the estimated 5,000 encamped to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Update: The Corps released a statement late Sunday clarifying that they have “no plans for forcible removal.” Instead, they say, they are “seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location.” How exactly that would happen is unclear.)
“Our Tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever,” said Archambault in a statement. “We ask that all everyone who can appeal to President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the future of our people and rescind all permits and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of our Reservation and straight through our treaty lands.” –Cole Kazdin and Duy Linh Tu (continue reading: The Standing Rock ‘Water Protectors’ Vow to Stay No Matter What the Government Does | VICE | United States)
GR: The term environment refers to human surroundings. We measure human impact on the environment by the level of pollution of the air, water, and land, and the losses of food, water, and the convenience resources, the fossil fuels, lumber, and concrete. Human impacts are often quite striking as illustrated below.
As global warming progresses and weather extremes become stronger and more frequent, the massive human population’s overuse of other animal species and the soils and plants they need for survival will produce deforestation, extinction, and desertification. Consequent human starvation will prompt conflict, death, and mass emigration. As predicted 50 years ago, the end has begun. Like locusts, the humans have fed and now they are dying or moving on.
Sound too doomy and gloomy? Perhaps, but before we ignore the predictions and the current early symptoms of impending collapse, we should look at the earlier models and recent discussions (e.g., Diamond below).
It is always prudent to expect the best and plan for the worst. Jared Diamond gives a helpful discussion of this in the final chapter of his book Collapse. At the end, Diamond discusses three reasons for hope—hope we can avoid collapse.
Diamond’s first reason for hope is that “. . . realistically, we are not beset by insoluble problems” (521). His second reason “. . . is the increasing diffusion of environmental thinking among the public around the world. Diamond then discusses the crucial choices environmental thinking forces us to make if we are to succeed and not fail. The first is “the courage to practice long-term thinking and to make courageous, anticipatory decisions at a time when problems have become perceptible but before they have reached crisis proportions” (522). The second choice “involves the courage to make painful decisions about values” (523). Treasured values–religious, cultural, and traditional views and practices–are great dangers when they prevent societies from changing to meet new challenges.
Diamond’s third reason for hope is the work of archaeologists and the modern global communications network that let us learn from the mistakes of past peoples and of distant peoples. “My hope in writing this book has been that enough people will choose to profit from that opportunity to make a difference” (Diamond, 2005: 526).
In the 10 years since Diamond published Collapse, there doesn’t seem to have been much progress on the reasons for hope. Yes, population growth, global warming, etc. are soluble problems, but the hour grows late, and the problems continue to grow. Likewise, we have global diffusion of information across the Internet, but governments, politicians, and dictators are succeeding at containing the actions prompted by increased awareness. Are we learning from the mistakes of the past and present? Sure, we are, but now time is of the essence as they say, and we are running out of it.
Diamond, Jared. 2005. Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. Viking, New York. 576 p.
You might want to read the later edition of Collapse and Diamond’s thoughts on events during the 10 years since first publication.
Here is a well-illustrated discussion of World Environment Day from the Guardian: “More than a quarter of a billion people, half of them children, are suffering the impact of severe drought across three continents. Aid agencies are working to deliver emergency food parcels to prevent people starving, and to help build livelihood resilience to extreme weather events . . . .” Source: World Environment Day: drought drives global rise in hunger – in pictures | Global development | The Guardian
The first World Environment Day was established by the United Nations in 1972, on the day of the first UN Conference on the Human Environment. In the years since then, it has become a broad, global platform for public outreach, celebrated in more than 100 countries. It embraces both individual actions and collective initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment: we all are, after all, agents of change.
This year’s World Environment Day, hosted by Angola, focusses especially on the fight against illegal trade in wildlife, which causes acute animal suffering and is a great threat to the preservation of wildlife and biodiversity.
Thailand has shut down 10 popular diving sites in a bid to slow a coral bleaching crisis, an official said Thursday, in a rare move to shun tourism profits to protect the environment.
The tropical country’s southern coastline and string of islands are home to some of the world’s most prized white sand beaches and scuba sites, and the booming tourism industry props up Thailand’s lagging economy.
But warming waters and ever-growing swarms of visitors have damaged coral reefs and local ecosystems.