The world is headed for an ‘environmental apocalypse’ as human-induced environmental change is occurring at an unprecedented scale and pace. Alarmingly, the window of opportunity to avoid catastrophic outcomes in societies around the world is rapidly closing. The Institute of Public Policy Research in its latest paper, ‘This is a Crisis: Facing Up to the Age of Environmental Breakdown’ highlights economic instability, large-scale involuntary migration, conflict, famine and the potential collapse of social and economic systems.
The study says negative human impacts on the environment go beyond climate change. Environmental breakdown is an issue of justice. According to study “The problem has been predominantly caused by the activities of a minority of nations, companies and sections of society.” The consequences fall most severely on poorer nations and populations, who have a limited ability to respond. The study states that prosperity will only be possible if two interrelated transformations are undertaken, that is, bringing human activity to within sustainable limits while meeting the needs of humanity and to accelerate preparation for the consequences of environmental breakdown.
It is not surprising that the study blames humans for extinction of species. Habitat loss, including land use changes such as deforestation and desertification resulting from farming is the primary cause of species extinction. “Too much damage in one area can disrupt other systems, potentially triggering large-scale environmental change at a regional or global level which is unpredictable, abrupt, greater than the sum of individual hazards and not easily reversed,” the study reveals.
Moreover, increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are leading to rising global surface temperatures. This results in ocean acidification, melting ice sheets, rising sea levels and changes in the ecosystem. Furthermore, the loss of biodiversity has reached critical levels, threatening the collapse of entire ecosystems. The study points out that the changes likely indicate that environmental systems have entered a new era of environmental change and instability, unprecedented in recorded human history.
Related Article:Australia recognises West Jerusalem as capital of Israel
Scientists say that the process of environmental change has reached severe levels. The study warns that consequences for human systems include drought, famine and greater ill health with increasing frequency likely to destabilize nations and entire regions. The researcher said “Environmental breakdown presents decision-makers with a new, complex and uniquely dangerous domain of risk.” The governments the world over should take heed of this study and implement policies that will safeguard the environment and human life as a whole from further degradation.