Among the bleakness, there's one thing humanity appears to have done right, and that is the reduction of ozone-depleting emissions.
The new notice, written as an open-letter "viewpoint" article, won the support of 15,364 scientists from 184 countries who agreed to offer their names as signatories.
Global change is affecting the Earth, and wildfires are a effect.
"Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, majority are getting far worse", the scientists write in response to the data they have examined. We are jeopardising our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats.
"Humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere", report the authors. "Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences". They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path. Other global successes that the scientists have mentioned in the warning letter include a decline in fertility rates, decline in deforestation, and rapid growth in the renewable-energy sector, however; all of these are happening in certain regions and not across the entire world.
The goal of the paper, said Ripple, is to "ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate". In addition, they stress that action must be taken immediately.
By 2030, up to 170 million hectares of forest - equivalent to the combined size of Germany, France, Spain and Portugal - may be lost, experts from WWF have previously warned.
Back in 1992, a group of scientists had signed another letter, namely "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity".
The researchers document a number of negative environmental trends including; continuing increases in global carbon emissions and average temperatures; a 26% reduction in available fresh water per person; a 75% increase in the number of ocean dead zones; a loss of almost 300 million acres of forestland, much of it converted to agricultural use; a drop in the number of wild fish caught, despite increased fishing efforts; a 29% reduction in the number of mammal, reptile, amphibian, fish and bird species; and a 35% increase in the human population.
As per the letter, since 1960, freshwater resources and vertebrate species have decreased by around 25%, marine dead zones have skyrocketed by three-quarters and Carbon dioxide emissions have rapidly increased by 62%.
But if there is the will, mankind can move the Earth's systems toward sustainability. You probably won't be surprised to learn that we haven't done much of anything to heed the warnings. Within, they explained that human activities were doing serious, irreversible damage on the planet that, if left unchecked, would eventually make the planet uninhabitable.
This letter, spearheaded by Oregon State University ecologist William Ripple, serves as a "second notice", the authors say: "Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory". "We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home", the update reads.