Looking forward: Save the earth!
Alarmingly, the research shows future environmental conditions will be far more dangerous than experts currently believe.
This is largely because academics tend to specialise in one discipline, which means they’re in many cases unfamiliar with the complex system in which planetary-scale problems and their potential solutions exist.
What’s more, positive change can be impeded by governments rejecting or ignoring scientific advice, and ignorance of human behaviour by both technical experts and policymakers. More broadly, the human optimism bias; thinking bad things are more likely to befall others than yourself means many people underestimate the environmental crisis.
Put simply, if we review the current state of the global environment, there are many things, to cover but if we look at some issues we can see that:
About 1,300 documented species extinctions over the past 500 years, with many more unrecorded. More broadly, population sizes of animal species have declined by more than two-thirds over the last 50 years, suggesting more extinctions are imminent.
About one million plant and animal species globally threatened with extinction. The combined mass of wild mammals today is less than one-quarter the mass before humans started colonising the planet. Insects are also disappearing rapidly in many regions.
A halving of live coral cover on reefs in less than 200 years and a decrease in seagrass extent by 10% per decade over the last century. About 40% of kelp forests have declined in abundance, and the number of large predatory fishes is fewer than 30% of that a century ago.
Food shortages impede our nations as mass production and supply is being limited including issues such as food miles, farming, availability of fresh produce and feeding people.
Whilst these figures are alarming and things seems to be getting worse we can work together to take action and change the progress of the systems that are contributing to these issues and slow the damage in order to reverse and heal these formidable issues.