The Emergency

Humanity is facing a crisis unprecedented in its history. A crisis that, unless immediately addressed, threatens to catapult us towards the destruction of all we hold dear, our planet’s ecosystems and the future of generations to come. This crisis has been caused by human activities and we have to stop making it worse or we will face catastrophe that we cannot think our way out of, invent our way out of or buy our way out of. In one way or another, it will affect every one of us and everything we love. 

The science is clear: the world is heating and the breakdown of our environment has begun. Even now, warmer temperatures are wreaking havoc, causing an increase in extreme weather, floods, storms and droughts – along with rising sea levels, heat stress in our oceans and degradation of our soils. Extreme weather events are having devastating impacts on agriculture and destroying homes, costing taxpayers billions of dollars and leaving millions of people in need of humanitarian aid. 

If we keep going as we are, the coming years will bring more wildfires, unpredictable super storms and scorching heatwaves. Rising sea levels and droughts could render vast tracts of land uninhabitable through flooding and desertification, putting food supplies at risk. Receding glaciers threaten to cut off fresh water supplies for millions. Mass migration and famine are likely to take us towards civil unrest and ultimately war, raising the terrifying possibility of societal collapse.

But that’s not all. Around the world, biodiversity is being annihilated at a terrifying rate. Population sizes of thousands of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have fallen by 60% since the 1970s. We are losing our crop-pollinating insects and soil-rejuvenating earthworms. Species are going extinct 100 to 1,000 times faster than they would be doing naturally. Many scientists say we are now entering the Earth’s Sixth Mass Extinction event, with one million species threatened with extinction – many within decades. Only this time it’s our fault. The consequences will be catastrophic if we do not act swiftly. 

Millions of our trees are being felled to feed the ever-increasing demands for palm oil, clothes and meat. Our soils are being degraded through deforestation and intensive agriculture. We are running out of raw materials and using up our resources. Our rivers are being poisoned and our seas are acidifying and filling up with plastic. The air is so toxic that it kills millions each year.

As Sir David Attenborough put it: “We are facing a man-made disaster on a global scale.”

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