Saturday, February 04, 2012

Reminder of Urgency

As 2012 moves along, we tend to get caught up in domestic and international politics, trade and unemployment figures. Meanwhile, the most pressing issue civilization has ever faced continues to increase in gravity. Human-made climate change has provoked the unpredictability of climactic patterns, augmented the intensity and frequency of climate-related disasters, and has worsened the constraints for human development.

In 2011 alone, 5.2 million hectares of forest coverage were lost, along with 7 million hectares of fertile land lost to erosion and 12 million hectares of land that turned into desert. This adds up to almost 250,000 square kilometers, a surface area larger than many countries.

These figures make us wonder: how much forest coverage and fertile land are required to support a human population that tends to reach 9 billion by 2050? What is the economic value of environmental services that humanity enjoys for free from nature? Can we afford to continue behaving in this way?

At the pace we are degrading the natural environment, humanity risks reaching critical ecosystemic tipping points beyond which extinction of biodiversity will accelerate, changing the condition of life on the planet like it has not been altered in millions of years.

Our top priority must be to revert the causes of this systemic failure threatening with civilizational collapse and adapt to rapidly occurring changes in our environment. Without healthy ecosystems there are no peacefully coexisting societies, and without these, no thriving market economies or financial expansion.

Peace, wealth, growth, development and comfort are intricately linked to the quality of biodiversity and ecosystems.

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