Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Nine ways to save the world

15,364 eminent scientists have published an open letter to the world - the most scientists ever to co-sign a published journal article - in which they detail the things we need to attend to in order to avoid global catastrophe. What they suggest is simple and straightforward, and for the most part common sense. But it is nice to have it set out in such a clear and concise form, and we should sit up and take note (and, ideally, act upon in, with some sense of urgency).
So what are their nine calls to action?

  1. Control our fertility - limit our reproduction to "replacement value at most" (i.e. one or two kids per family).
  2. Eat better and waste less food - given the environmental impact of current food production, we should waste less and move towards "mostly plant-based foods".
  3. Buy green - we need to pay more attention to tbe overall environmental impact of everything we buy, not just food.
  4. Appreciate and engage with nature - this is particularly important for city dwellers, and should include outdoor nature education for children.
  5. Make our economies more equitable and environmentally aware - move to reduce wealth inequality and ensure that prices and taxation take into account all environmental externalities.
  6. Establish more nature reserves - to protect all animals in the sea and fresh water, in thr land and in the air, and make sire they are well-funded and well-managed.
  7. Stop wiping out whole ecosystems - like forests, grasslands and other native habitats, and work to re-wild some existing ones and to restore native plant communities.
  8. Stop wiping out animal species - avoid a sixth mass extinction by controlling poaching and the exploitation and trading of threatened species.
  9. Invest in and adopt green technologies - including renewable energy sources, and stop subsidizing older dirty technologies like coal, oil and gas.

Wise words to save a planet indeed. And, as I mentioned, simple and straightforward. But easy? Not so much.

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