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April 5 – Does anyone remember this? WORLD SCIENTISTS' WARNING TO HUMANITY Human beings and the natural world are on a collisioncourse. Human activities inflict harsh and oftenirreversible damage on the environment and on criticalresources. If not checked, many of our current practicesput at serious risk the future that we wish for humansociety and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alterthe living world that it will be unable to sustain life inthe manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent ifwe are to avoid the collision our present course will bringabout…. Much of this damage is irreversible on a scale ofcenturies or permanent. Other processes appear to poseadditional threats. Increasing levels of gases in theatmosphere from human activities, including carbon dioxidereleased from fossil fuel burning and from deforestation,may alter climate on a global scale. Predictions of globalwarming are still uncertain -- with projected effectsranging from tolerable to very severe -- but the potentialrisks are very great. Our massive tampering with the world's interdependent webof life -- coupled with the environmental damage inflictedby deforestation, species loss, and climate change -- couldtrigger widespread adverse effects, including unpredictablecollapses of critical biological systems whose interactionsand dynamics we only imperfectly understand. Uncertainty over the extent of these effects cannotexcuse complacency or delay in facing the threat…. WARNING We the undersigned, senior members of the world'sscientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what liesahead. A great change in our stewardship of the earth andthe life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to beavoided and our global home on this planet is not to beirretrievably mutilated. WHAT WE MUST DO Five inextricably linked areas must be addressedsimultaneously: 1. We must bring environmentally damaging activities under control to restore and protect the integrity of the earth's systems we depend on. We must, for example, move away from fossil fuels to more benign, inexhaustible energy sources to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of our air and water. Priority must be given to the development of energy sources matched to third world needs -- small scale and relatively easy to implement. We must halt deforestation, injury to and loss of agricultural land, and the loss of terrestrial and marine plant and animal species. 2. We must manage resources crucial to human welfare more effectively. We must give high priority to efficient use of energy, water, and other materials, including expansion of conservation and recycling. 3. We must stabilize population. This will be possible only if all nations recognize that it requires improved social and economic conditions, and the adoption of effective, voluntary family planning. 4. We must reduce and eventually eliminate poverty. 5. We must ensure sexual equality, and guarantee women control over their own reproductive decisions …. A new ethic is required -- a new attitude towardsdischarging our responsibility for caring for ourselves andfor the earth. We must recognize the earth's limitedcapacity to provide for us. We must recognize itsfragility. We must no longer allow it to be ravaged. Thisethic must motivate a great movement, convince reluctantleaders and reluctant governments and reluctant peoplesthemselves to effect the needed changes. The scientists issuing this warning hope that our messagewill reach and affect people everywhere. We need the helpof many. We require the help of the world community of scientists -- natural, social, economic, political; We require the help of the world's business and industrial leaders; We require the help of the worlds religious leaders; and We require the help of the world's peoples. We call on all to join us in this task. ========================================================== This document was issued on November 18, 1992. The signatories – over 1,500 of them – included over half the world’s living Nobel laureates.(To read the entire document, go to: http://www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/ucs-statement.txt) How could this have become so lost in the shuffle? I honestly had noidea such a document existed, or else I was as oblivious as everybody else. John Robbins, in his book The Food Revolution, says this: “’Warning to Humanity’ received virtually no coverage by mass media.” Where were they? Why wasn’t this covered? Where were WE? Why didn’t our government pay attention to this? What did the Director of the EPA say about it? Surely the issuing scientists must have anticipated a far different reception. This is the present-day equivalent of receiving the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai. From that historically unique day in November forward, we could no longer say “We didn’t know. Nobody told us.” Nothing can, or will, ever be the same again. As little attention as it received eighteen years ago, it can no longer go unacknowledged. Perhaps humankind is at last ready to shoulder the burden outlined in this document.

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