15000 scientists in 184 countries warn about negative global environmental trends

Scientists issued a "second notice" to humanity, warning of environmental doom because mankind is continuing to push the plant's ecosystems to its breaking point and is on the verge of ruining the planet. 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 terrible global climate change engendered by the burning of fossil fuels.

Writing in the online worldwide journal BioScience, the scientists led by top USA ecologist Professor William Ripple, from Oregon State University, said: "Humanity is now being given a second notice ..."

"People just started sharing the letter; it was added to a few email lists and things just took off from there", he said. But, by and large, humanity has done a terrible job of making progress. The group, consisting of Nobel laureates, urged the world to save the Earth from extreme climate change by burning less fossil fuels, conserving forests, limiting population growth and improving food production. Scientists predict many current life forms could be annihilated or near extinction by the end of this 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.

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The letter also cited reductions in poverty and hunger, declining fertility rates due to increases in women and girls' education, and commitment to renewable energy as other positive changes that have been made, noting that these measures show that people can produce "positive change when [they] act decisively".

Taking such actions, they conclude, are necessary to avert "widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss". The report outlines 13 areas that humanity could address to help make our life on earth sustainable. Scientists also recommended ensuring that economic transactions consider environmental consequences - for example, the price of an item in a store should reflect the full environmental costs required to make it, not just the cost of the human labor used to produce it. It looks back at the warnings issued by the first letter, and checks on how we have been faring. Notably, in August, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, standing alone as the only country in the world that is not part of the pact.

While nations around the world have officially recognized the need to address these concerns and the threat to humanity's existence, the current USA administration appears uninterested in heeding such warnings.

Prof Ripple and his colleagues have formed a new independent organisation called the Alliance of World Scientists to voice concerns about environmental sustainability and the fate of humanity. We simply need to buckle down and get on with it, increasing pressure on governments and industry to tackle the most pressing issues head-on.

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