|So investors and
customers are driving businesses to change, what's driving investors and
customers to change. In a word - Earth. We're not saying that everyone
has turned into an environmentalist, but consciously or unconsciously the
impact that our economic system has had on our ecological and human system
has permeated every facet of our lives.
Thousands of facts about the environment have crossed our path, making it hard to discern the epicenter of the matter. Here are the two most poignant testaments we have ever found.
|"On November 19, 1992, only five months
after the largest gathering of heads of state in history at the Earth Summit
in Rio, a document entitled "World Scientist's
Warning To Humanity" was released. It was signed by more
than 1,600 senior scientists from 71 countries, including over half of all
Nobel prize winners. The document began:
· "Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.
· Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources.
· If not checked, 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.
· Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about."
After outlining the crisis, and the steps that might be taken to shift away from the destructive course we are on, the scientists concluded with an appeal for support from the scientists, business and industrial leaders, religious leaders and people of the world. And in closing:
· "This degree of consensus is truly unprecedented.
· There is an exceptional degree of agreement within the scientific community that natural systems can no longer absorb the burden of current human practices.
· The depth and breadth of authoritative support for the Warning should give great pause to those who question the validity of threats to our environment."
World Scientists' Warning to Humanity,
quoted by David Suzuki, The Sacred Balance
|Here are the biggest picture
facts. Earth has had:
· Five mass extinctions over the last 500M years (a die-off of the diversity of life)
· Most recent mass extinction 65M years ago
The cause - an asteroid hit the earth. The result - the elimination of all the dinosaurs, ammanoids, and so many other species we think of as coming from the dawn of time.
A normal rate of loss of species between mass extinctions is:
· 1 species every 5 years.
Right now we are losing:
· 25,000 species every year.
We are now in the middle of a mass extinction. This time it is we who are the next asteroid. Today, as never before, we have the power to fundamentally alter the life support systems on Earth.
"In 1999, the American Museum of Natural History took a poll among biologists. They asked a simple question: Are we in the middle of a mass extinction? Seventy percent said yes."
Brian Swimme, Mathematical Cosmologist, co-author of The Universe Story
So What's Needed.