Nav: Home

How #ScientistsWarningtoHumanity signed up 15,000 scientists

November 13, 2017

Twenty five years ago, a majority of the world's living Nobel Laureates united to sign a warning letter about the Earth; today, scientists have taken grassroots action, with a scorecard - created in the United States and seeded in Australia going viral and continuing to gain signatures - showing that of nine areas only one has improved: our ozone.

The scientist say urgent action must be taken to avoid substantial and irreversible harm to the Earth.

The article, "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice", has been co-signed by more than 15,000 scientists in 184 countries and is published today in the journal BioScience.

Included is a series of graphs that highlight at a glance the direction things have headed.

Co-author Dr Thomas Newsome, a research fellow at Deakin University and The University of Sydney, said he believed this was possibly the biggest number of signatories to any published scientific paper.

"It's an overwhelming response we didn't quite expect," said Dr Newsome, who issued a number of Tweets to garner interest via his handle @NewsomeTM and using the hashtag #ScientistsWarningtoHumanity.

Dr Newsome, a multi award-winning early career researcher and author, said their callout on the first day, four months ago, attracted almost 600 signatories.

"People just started sharing the letter; it was added to a few email lists and things just took off from there," he said.

The initial warning 25 years ago identified trends that needed to be reversed to curtail environmental destruction, including ozone depletion, forest loss, climate change and human population growth.

"In this paper we look back on these trends and evaluate the subsequent human response by exploring the available data," Dr Newsome said.

Among the negative 25-year global trends noted in today's article are:
  • A 26 percent reduction in the amount of fresh water available per capita

  • A loss of nearly 300 million acres of forestland

  • A collective 29 percent reduction in the numbers of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and fish

  • A 75 percent increase in the number of ocean dead zones.

Regarding Australia, Dr Newsome said habitat loss was the number one threat, and in 2017 we ranked number two in the world for global biodiversity loss, behind Indonesia.

"There's been recent reports on an alarming rise in tree clearance in Queensland - about 400,000 hectares per year; the equivalent of 400,000 football fields - which puts us in line with Brazil," Dr Newsome said.

"All the while we have very low public spending for example on threatened species - around $70 million each year, or less than one hundredth of a percent of the federal government's annual revenue of $416.9 billion - we spend more rehabilitating mine sites each year," he said.

The article states there is still time but notes the areas that need to be improved, including promoting dietary shifts away from meat, encouraging the adoption of renewable energy and limiting human population growth.
-end-
Scientists can continue to endorse the warning by visiting http://scientistswarning.forestry.oregonstate.edu/

Co-authors of the article include William Ripple and Christopher Wolf at Oregon State University and Eileen Crist of Virginia Tech in the United States; Mauro Galleti of the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil; Thomas Newsome of The University of Sydney and Deakin University and William Laurence of James Cook University in Australia; Mohammad Alongir of the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh; Mahmoud Mahmoud of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency in Nigeria.

Photos available to accompany this story:

University of Sydney

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change (The Politically Incorrect Guides)
by Marc Morano (Author)

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by Joseph Romm (Author)

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
by Naomi Klein (Author)

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert (Author)

Climate Change: The Facts
by J.Abbot (Author), J.S. Armstrong (Author), A.Bolt (Author), R.Carter (Author), R.Darwall (Author), J.Delingpole (Author), C.Essex (Author), S.Franks (Author), K.Green (Author), D.Laframboise (Author), N.Lawson (Author), B.Lewin (Author), R.Lindzen (Author), J.Marohasy (Author), R.McKitrick (Author), P.Michaels (Author), A.Moran (Author), J.Nova (Author), G.Paltridge (Author), I.Plimer (Author), W.Soon (Author), M.Steyn (Author), A.Watts (Author), Alan Moran (Editor)

Climate Change: The Facts 2017
by Jennifer Marohasy (Editor)

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by Joseph Romm (Author)

A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About The Science, The Consequences, and The Solutions
by Jeffrey Bennett (Author)

Climate Change: Picturing the Science
by Gavin Schmidt (Author), Joshua Wolfe (Author), Jeffrey D. Sachs (Foreword)

Dire Predictions, 2nd Edition: Understanding Climate Change
by Michael E. Mann (Author), Lee R. Kump (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Why We Hate
From bullying to hate crimes, cruelty is all around us. So what makes us hate? And is it learned or innate? This hour, TED speakers explore the causes and consequences of hate — and how we can fight it. Guests include reformed white nationalist Christian Picciolini, CNN commentator Sally Kohn, podcast host Dylan Marron, and writer Anand Giridharadas.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#482 Body Builders
This week we explore how science and technology can help us walk when we've lost our legs, see when we've gone blind, explore unfriendly environments, and maybe even make our bodies better, stronger, and faster than ever before. We speak to Adam Piore, author of the book "The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human", about the increasingly amazing ways bioengineering is being used to reverse engineer, rebuild, and augment human beings. And we speak with Ken Thomas, spacesuit engineer and author of the book "The Journey to Moonwalking: The People That Enabled Footprints on the Moon" about...