I talk about it from time to time, and not to be a jinx: the planet, you know, is in pretty bad shape.
But the immense scale of the threats posed by global climate change and human-induced biodiversity loss may be even more serious than humanity understands. according to an article published in the journal Frontiers in Conservation Science.
An article that is not at all reassuring, indeed: the picture is so gloomy that, we read, it could herald "a horrible future of mass extinction", even for humanity itself.
A situation that precipitates
"Humanity is causing rapid loss of biodiversity and, with it, the Earth's ability to sustain complex life," he said. in a press release Corey Bradshaw, Flinders University ecologist and lead author of the research. "But the mainstream is struggling to grasp the extent of this loss, and this is a drama within a drama."
Part of the challenge is that the world's political and economic systems are designed to focus on short-term challenges and benefits, say the study's authors. This means that humanity's long-term problems such as climate change, biodiversity loss and ecological destruction are not addressed.
Difficult even for the most experienced
"Indeed, the scale of the threats to the biosphere and all of its life forms is so great that it is difficult for even well-informed experts to grasp," Bradshaw said in the statement.
The problem is compounded by ignorance and short-term self-interest, with the pursuit of wealth and political interests hindering actions crucial to survivalCorey Bradshaw
"Most economies operate on the basis that law enforcement is now too expensive to be politically palatable," he added. Paul Ehrlich, study co-author and a Stanford University biologist. "Combined with disinformation campaigns to protect short-term profits, it is by no means certain that the scale of the changes we need will be made in time."
A brutal synthesis? Humanity is running an eco-friendly Ponzi scheme in which society robs nature today and future generations for short-term economic gains.
The paper is "scary": it is a question of life or death for humanity.
"What we're saying may not be popular, and it's actually scary," said one of the co-authors. "But we must be blunt, precise and honest if humanity is to understand the enormity of the challenges we face in creating a sustainable future."