Scientists’ Second Warning to Humanity

In 1992, more than 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists – including most of the living Nobel Prize winners – issued a dire warning to humanity. This warning outlined the detrimental relationship between humans and the environment, and the inevitable consequences that result from ignoring global climate change. 

In 2017, we’ve seen record temperatures, a rising number of forest fires, and the most powerful hurricane ever recorded, and we’re only halfway through the hurricane season. Although the “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” was issued 25 years ago, little has been done to avoid the negative effects of climate change, and the blame should be placed on our political leaders. 

Oregon State University has issued “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice” in which they reiterate the warnings of the original message, as well as detail new proposals to adequately “transition to sustainability.” The problem is, so much time has passed since the 1992 message that new, more immediate changes need to be made. Make no mistake, we’ve wasted our time.

“We have learned much since 1992, but the advancement of urgently needed changes in environmental policy, human behavior, and global inequities is still far from sufficient,” the document states. 

Scientists in 1992 also warned about the rapidly increasing global population, a problem that’s largely been ignored relative to other environmental issues. It’s not easy to discuss, but it requires our immediate attention.

Due to our large numbers, we’ve pushed the Earth’s ecosystems to the breaking point, arguably beyond repair. The stabilization of our population is a problem that goes beyond our use of greenhouse gases; it means we need to stop procreating with little regard for the future. 

It’s hard to say what a solution to overpopulation looks like, but any solution is better than none. OSU’s second look at the original warning claims “humanity has failed to make sufficient progress” when it comes to stabilizing the population, and the rest of the outlined issues. 

However, there is still hope for humanity and our future here on Earth. But we must “act decisively” to create a sustainable change. 

This means electing political leaders who believe in policies devoted to real science, real facts. This means redistributing government funds to areas that solve issues, not create them. This means helping the world’s best minds develop new technologies and sustainable answers. This means worrying less about money, and more about life. 

This means not taking no for an answer.

By Nick Stollings