— Thomas Newsome (@NewsomeTM) July 24, 2017
The signatures were gathered as part of a collective effort to warn humanity about the detrimental effects a warming planet will have on the survivability of the human species. Forestry Professor William Ripple from Oregon State University came across a similar warning from 1992 and decided to relaunch the campaign on its 25th anniversary.
Ripple identified the following trends in ecological decline over the past 25 years, since 1992, including:
- A decline in freshwater availability
- Unsustainable marine fisheries
- Ocean dead zones
- Forest losses
- Dwindling biodiversity
- Climate change
- Population growth
Despite this, efforts by the global community have brought about one positive outcome: There has been a decline in the depletion of the ozone.
The signatures aim to raise awareness about the negative impact our industrial activity is having on the our planet.
Scientists around the world are highly concerned about climate change and the effects it will have on societies in the coming years. As more countries industrialise and others develop, there will be an increase in global consumption patterns, which will lead to a heavier global carbon footprint.
Development will bring more people out of poverty and raise living standards, but it will likewise increase carbon emissions, creating a threat for the survival of our species.
Science and Technology Professor at Virginia Tech, Eileen Crist, said:
Sometimes people miss … the most significant event: the rapid rise of the global middle class, which is now more than three billion people in the world and it’s expected, by 2050 or so, to rise to five billion people.
This swelling of the middle class raises the potential for ecological disasters. One of the biggest factors is, simply, population growth. If family sizes were to decrease, and if consumption patterns were to be reduced per person, then the net carbon footprint could be reduced.
Global carbon emissions, however, have risen 62% since the original warning issued in 1992.
This has produced profound effects. In many major cities, thousands of people die each year due to respiratory issues brought on by high levels of pollution in the air.
The very young and the very old are the chief victims of air pollution due to physical vulnerability.
Crist went on to say:
We are in the throes of a mass extinction event that is anthropogenic. This is not something we can fix. If we lose 50 to 75 per cent of the species on the planet in this century — which is what scientists are telling us what will occur if we continue to operate as business-as-usual — if this happens, this can not be fixed.