Yesterday, we reported on the apocalyptic letter signed by 15,000 scientists warning that humanity is doing everything possible to promote its own demise by destroying the ability of the earth to sustain life. Written in large part by William Ripple of the Oregon State University, it is the manifesto of a new group that styles itself as the Alliance of World Scientists. In it, the authors suggest 13 steps humanity could take to avert an existential crisis.
André Balsa, one of our regular readers who often leaves thoughtful comments to our stories, suggested CleanTechnica should do a followup that sets forth those 13 suggestions so we could analyze them ourselves and decide which we could incorporate into our own behavior to address the impending climate crisis. He is right, of course. And so here is the list suggested by Professor Ripple and more than 15,000 of his colleagues.
- Prioritizing the enactment of connected, well-funded and well-managed reserves for a significant proportion of the world’s terrestrial, marine, freshwater, and aerial habitats.
- Maintaining nature’s ecosystem services by halting the conversion of forests, grasslands, and other native habitats.
- Restoring native plant communities at large scales, particularly forest landscapes.
- Rewilding regions with native species, especially apex predators, to restore ecological processes and dynamics.
- Developing and adopting adequate policy instruments to remedy defaunation, the poaching crisis, and the exploitation and trade of threatened species.
- Reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure
- Promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods.
- Further reducing fertility rates by ensuring that women and men have access to education and voluntary family-planning services, especially where such resources are still lacking.
- Increasing outdoor nature education for children, as well as the overall engagement of society in the appreciation of nature.
- Divesting of monetary investments and purchases to encourage positive environmental change.
- Devising and promoting new green technologies and massively adopting renewable energy sources while phasing out subsidies to energy production
through fossil fuels.
- Revising our economy to reduce wealth inequality and ensure that prices, taxation, and incentive systems take into account the real costs which consumption patterns impose on our environment.
- Estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.
There you have it — a list of 13 things people could do to avert calamity. Which of those suggestions are sensible? Which are doable? Which are hopelessly romantic notions bearing little relation to reality?
Let’s begin the lively debate André desires. As an adjunct to this discussion, feel free to refer to the similar list proposed by the recent book Drawdown, which calls itself “the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming.” Between the two resources, we should find more than enough material to construct a logical way forward for humanity. My own suggestion is to stop using the earth as a communal toilet.
Let the discussion begin!