Yeah, you. Not the grandkids. Not some generation in the future. You. Your generation. In your lifetime, however that should be measured. You. This time you've got skin in the game, your own hide.
A UN scientific panel is about to release a jarring report. We are heading for extinction.
The world’s leading scientists will warn the planet’s life-support systems are approaching a danger zone for humanity when they release the results of the most comprehensive study of life on Earth ever undertaken.
Up to 1m species are at risk of annihilation, many within decades, according to a leaked draft of the global assessment report, which has been compiled over three years by the UN’s leading research body on nature.
The 1,800-page study will show people living today, as well as wildlife and future generations, are at risk unless urgent action is taken to reverse the loss of plants, insects and other creatures on which humanity depends for food, pollination, clean water and a stable climate.
The final wording of the summary for policymakers is being finalised in Paris by a gathering of experts and government representatives before the launch on Monday, but the overall message is already clear, according to Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).The report appears to bolster arguments calling for a fast end to the neoliberal order so popular among western governments including Canada's. We are attacking our host, this planet, our one and only biosphere, Spaceship Earth. There is no other and when we abuse it, it will exterminate us. It's that simple. There is no easy fix. There is no, "oh they'll think of something."
It all comes down to the same problem. We have to learn to live within the very finite bounds of our planet's ecology. At the moment we're consuming Earth's resources far beyond the planet's carrying capacity. We are gutting our own life support systems.
Because it's so important, I will repeat this once more. The evidence of our predations is everywhere. It is visible to the naked eye from the International Space Station where crew members can see from the viewing cupola the clearing of vast swathes of forests, farmland transformed into barren desert, the rapid spread of wildfires, rivers that no longer reach the sea, algae blooms in our rivers, lakes and coastal zones. We can see it at our docks as we "fish down the food chain" eliminating one species after another. NASA's Grace satellites measure surface subsidence caused by the emptying of our ancient aquifers, nearly irreplaceable groundwater siphoned off for irrigation, often without a second thought.
We can see what we're doing in what should be the alarming loss of other life forms. In the 40-year history of the neoliberal order ushered in by Thatcher, Reagan and Mulroney mankind has so monopolized Earth's territory and resources that we have seen a loss of more than 50 per cent in the numbers of creatures, both terrestrial and marine. We're squeezing them out of their habitat or rendering it uninhabitable.
This has to stop or it will stop us.
...the report is a compilation of reams of academic studies, in this case on subjects ranging from ocean plankton and subterranean bacteria to honey bees and Amazonian botany. Following previous findings on the decimation of wildlife, the overview of the state of the world’s nature is expected to provide evidence that the world is facing a sixth wave of extinction. Unlike the past five, this one is human-driven.
Mike Barrett, WWF’s executive director of conservation and science, said: “All of our ecosystems are in trouble. This is the most comprehensive report on the state of the environment. It irrefutably confirms that nature is in steep decline.”
Barrett said this posed an environmental emergency for humanity, which is threatened by a triple challenge of climate, nature and food production. “There is no time to despair,” he said. “We should be hopeful that we have a window of opportunity to do something about it over these two years.”This time it's not just your grandkids who will pay. This is also coming for you. It's time to wake up.
Watson, a British professor who has headed both of the UN’s leading scientific panels, said the forthcoming report will delve more deeply than anything before into the causes of nature collapse, chief among which is the conversion of forests, wetlands and other wild landscapes into ploughed fields, dam reservoirs and concrete cities. Three-quarters of the world’s land surface has been severely altered, according to the leaked draft. Humanity is also decimating the living systems on which we depend by emitting carbon dioxide and spreading invasive species.We've had plenty of warnings and they've all been ignored. The Living Planet Reports of 2014 and 2015 documented the loss of terrestrial and marine life across the planet. Each was flushed down the Memory Hole within days. If you want to refresh your memory, you can read more about them here, here, here and here.
Morneau, Trudeau, Scheer - the lot of them - are disciples of perpetual exponential growth. They measure their success by whether we achieve at least a three per cent annual increase in Gross Domestic Product. Nothing else much matters to them. It should matter even more to you because it, as much as anything else, is driving us ever faster to extinction. There is no way to sugar coat this.
It's our choice. We either choose to live in harmony with this world and its finite ecosystem or we perish along with so many other species upon which our own survival depends. We are already outside our ecosystem by a factor of 1.7. It's called "overshoot" and, in graphic depiction, it looks like this:
We're on our way down and, as you'll see, the path becomes increasingly steep. Odd that we haven't heard much about any of this from our leaders as they instead spend their time mud wrestling over meaningless carbon taxes.
This isn't a theory. This is as real as concrete. Why are we letting these people drive us off the cliff?