11,000 scientists from 153 countries united to warn the world of irreversible damage if our governments don't act now.
Just before the United States President and climate change denier Donald Trump began the process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, thousands of scientists came together in order to warn us all about the dangers of not acting when it comes to climate change, global warming, and the environment overall. As industrial practices pollute the Earth, our lifestyles lead to larger carbon footprints, and our policies continue to disregard the environment, they have reminded us that we must act now if we are to avoid "untold human suffering." With this in mind, 11,000 scientists from 153 countries have declared a global climate emergency, The Independent reports.
For decades now, scientists have urged governments and lawmakers to change policies in order to protect our environment and negate the dangers of climate change - to no avail. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and climate advice falls on deaf ears. Therefore, the letter declaring a global climate emergency is even more vital. William Ripple, a professor of ecology at Oregon State University, who spearheaded the letter of declaration, stated, "Despite 40 years of major global negotiations, we have continued to conduct business as usual and have failed to address this crisis."
The letter, published in BioScience, thus affirms that "climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected." While many climate change deniers accuse scientists and activists of instigating and encouraging eco-anxiety or unwarranted climate fear, researchers believe that it is important to "tell it like it is." Additionally, they also reiterated their moral obligation to "clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat" as a result of global warming. They state, "Clearly and unequivocally planet Earth is facing a climate emergency."
In order to mitigate the effects of manmade climate change, the letter addresses six main focus areas: replacing fossil fuels; cutting pollutants like methane and soot; restoring and protecting ecosystems; eating less meat; converting the economy to one that is carbon-free and stabilizing population growth. Professor Ripple explained, "Global surface temperature, ocean heat content, extreme weather and its costs, sea level, ocean acidity, and land area are all rising. Ice is rapidly disappearing as shown by declining trends in minimum summer Arctic sea ice, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and glacier thickness. All of these rapid changes highlight the urgent need for action."
But all is not lost, there is hope yet. As we've seen with the recent global climate strikes inspired by environmental activist Greta Thunberg, people care and they are willing to change and drive policy transformation. Despite the rather bleak forecast, there is "room for optimism," the scientists suggest—if we act immediately. The letter notes, "We are encouraged by a recent surge of concern. Governmental bodies are making climate emergency declarations. Schoolchildren are striking. Ecocide lawsuits are proceeding in the courts. Grassroots citizen movements are demanding change, and many countries, states, and provinces, cities, and businesses are responding. Such swift action is our best hope to sustain life on planet Earth, our only home." If you want to do your part, participate in a climate strike, make important alterations to your lifestyle, and demand policy change from your local lawmakers. Together, we can definitely save planet Earth.