In 1992, a “warning” sent by the Union of Concerned Scientists and signed by 1,700 such people painted a dire picture of what could happen if the ozone layer problem wasn’t dealt with. 25 years later, the ozone situation has improved but the planet, and humanity, is in an even worse condition. That is practically the message sent by the new “letter to humanity”, signed by around 15,364 scientists from 184 countries, is trying to say, raising the alarms to the highest levels and potentially ruffling feathers along the way.
In the 25 years since the original letter, mankind proved that it can indeed change the course of the planet for the better, if they put their heads and hands together. The threat to the ozone layer was mitigated and renewable energy sources have become more feasible. That, however, isn’t cause for mankind to gather around a campfire and celebrate.
In many ways, we are depressingly in a worse state, say the scientists. The availability of fresh water per the world’s population has been cut by more than a quarter. Oceans now have 75% more “dead zones” where no aquatic life is almost possible. Carbon emissions and global average temperatures continue to rise significantly. And the number of animals in the world have fallen by 29% while the number of humans have risen by 35%.
That last bit is singled out as one of the biggest threats to our future. Unchecked population growth has led not just to ecological problems but even societal ones. It also indirectly leads to our increased material consumption, which causes a domino effect that will soon suck our planet dry of life.
And, of course, there’s the elephant in the room: climate change. To date, there are still those who deny such a thing exists. Call it by any other name or even challenge its existence, the fact remains that our world has been drastically changed in the last quarter century and it spiraling down to a point of no return. There is still some hope, the scientists reassure, but that too is a resource that is running out fast.