It is actually an update of a letter sent out by a group of scientists titled "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" in 1992, in which 1,700 scientists, including most scientific Nobel laureates alive at the time, stated what they considered the biggest threats to the planet and, by extension, to us. The 1992 letter also listed multiple actions that needed to be taken to "restore and protect the integrity of the earth's systems".
Thousands of scientists from all around the world have come together to issue another "warning to humanity" about the unprecedented threats that we as a species, and more importantly our planet as a whole, are now facing. The letter chronicled environmental impressions and compared them to biblical plagues like stratospheric ozone exhaustion, air and water contamination, the disintegration of fisheries and diminution of soil productivity, deforestation, species loss and awful global climate change engendered by the burning of fossil fuels. But, by and large, humanity has done a awful job of making progress.
The scientists expressed particular concern about "catastrophic climate change" resulting from deforestation, burning of fossil fuels, and agricultural production.
Scientists predict that many of today's lives are approaching extinction by the end of the century.
The lone bright spot exists way up in the stratosphere, where the hole in the planet's protective ozone layer has shrunk to its smallest size since 1988.
Progress in some areas - such as a reduction in ozone-depleting chemicals and an increase in energy generated from renewable sources - shows that positive changes can be made, the authors wrote.
"If not checked", wrote the scientists, led by particle physicist and Union of Concerned Scientists co-founder Henry Kendall, "many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know".
Scientists judge, humans do not respond well to efforts to unite with nature. This prescription was well articulated by the world's leading scientists 25 years ago, but in most respects, we have not heeded their warning...
The warning came with steps that can be taken to reverse negative trends, but the authors suggested that it may take a groundswell of public pressure to convince political leaders to take the right corrective actions.
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Ripple and his colleagues have formed a new independent organisation, the Alliance of World Scientists, to be a collective voice on environmental sustainability and human well-being.