I’ve always thought that Earth Day should be a day of celebrating, of giving thanks to a planet that sustains all life and brings such immense beauty, joy and diversity. But that’s not always an easy thing to do when facing corporate indifference and government inaction. Sometimes it seems that for every step of progress, there comes an equal and opposite force that’s intent on pushing us all backward, but scientists from all corners continue to fight the good fight – the fight for truth.
Science to the Rescue
“The global scientific community must deliver to society the knowledge necessary to assess the risks humanity is facing from global change. It must provide knowledge of how society can effectively mitigate dangerous changes and cope with changes we cannot manage.”
Despite the recent assault from all sorts of liars & deniers, climate scientists remain hard at work collecting and analyzing the latest planetary data to foster meaningful solutions to our current climate change dilemma. The London Planet Under Pressure conference provided attendees from around the world with a comprehensive update of Earth system knowledge and detailed the pressure our planet is now under.
State of the Planet Declaration
This conference was the world’s largest gathering of experts on global environmental and social issues in advance of the upcoming United Nations Rio+20 Summit in June. Below I’ve highlighted four points from the State of the Planet Declaration published at the conclusion of the conference.
1. Research now demonstrates that the continued functioning of the Earth system as it has supported the well-being of human civilization in recent centuries is at risk. Without urgent action, we could face threats to water, food, biodiversity and other critical resources: these threats risk intensifying economic, ecological and social crises, creating the potential for a humanitarian emergency on a global scale.
2. In just one lifetime our increasingly interconnected and interdependent economic, social, cultural & political systems have come to place pressures on the environment that may cause fundamental changes in the Earth system and move us beyond safe natural boundaries. But the same interconnectedness can provide the potential for solutions: new ideas can form and spread quickly, creating the momentum for the major transformation required for a truly sustainable planet.
3. The defining challenge of our age is to safeguard Earth’s natural processes to ensure the well-being of civilization while eradicating poverty, reducing conflict over resources, and supporting human and ecosystem health.
4. As consumption accelerates everywhere and world population rises, it is no longer sufficient to work towards a distant, future ideal of sustainable development. Global sustainability must become a foundation of society. It can and must be part of the bedrock of nation states and the fabric of societies.
Nothing could be more appropriate on Earth Day 2012 than to make sustainability the fabric of society as a whole, and the fabric of our daily lives!