Planet & Biodiversity Faces ‘Ghastly Future’ In New Prognosis By Leading Scientists

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Our planet is on track towards a “ghastly future”, warns a leading group of researchers in a new scientific paper summarising the state of the natural world. Unless drastic action to reverse climate change and ecological degradation is taken soon, our “entire biosphere and all its lifeforms” could be under threat, including humanity’s very own existence. 

The rapid loss of biodiversity and the intensifying climate emergency coupled with continued inaction is pushing the world towards a “ghastly future”, a new study published in Frontiers predicts. The research, led by a group of scientists from Stanford University, UCLA and Flinders University in Australia, says the survival of all species on Earth is now under grave threat. 

“Humanity is causing a rapid loss of biodiversity and, with it, Earth’s ability to support complex life,” said lead author Professor Corey Bradshaw of Flinders University. “But the mainstream is having difficulty grasping the magnitude of this loss, despite the steady erosion of the fabric of human civilisation.”

Stopping biodiversity loss is nowhere close to the top of any country’s priorities, trailing far behind other concerns such as employment, healthcare, economic growth, or currency stability.

Professor Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University

More than 150 studies were cited and reviewed for this “perspective” report, which aims to clearly show how our current trajectory of unsustainable consumption, depletion of natural resources and population growth will lead to mass biodiversity decline, extinction, planetary toxification and more severe climate change impacts. 

The research also outlines the consequences of continued “political impotence” when it comes to climate action and environmental protection, and how ineffective current and planned measures are to tackle the “ominous scale” at which the planet is being destroyed. 

“The problem is compounded by ignorance and short-term self-interest, with the pursuit of wealth and political interests stymying the action that is crucial for survival,” explained Bradshaw. 

Without political will backed by tangible action that scales to the enormity of the problems facing us, the added stresses to human health, wealth, and well-being will perversely diminish our political capacity to mitigate the erosion of the Earth’s life-support system upon which we all depend.

Professor Dan Blumstein, UCLA

“Stopping biodiversity loss is nowhere close to the top of any country’s priorities, trailing far behind other concerns such as employment, healthcare, economic growth, or currency stability,” added author Professor Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University. “While it is positive news that President-elect Biden intends to re-engage the U.S. in [the] Paris Climate accord within his first 100 days of office, it is a minuscule gesture given the scale of the challenge.” 

Professor Dan Blumstein of UCLA, who was also a part of the research, explained that the team of scientists decided to speak out on the lack of understanding of the scale of our ecological crisis and the collective unwillingness to act on it because the consequence is that our very existence – humanity – could be wiped out. 

“What we are saying might not be popular, and indeed is frightening. But we need to be candid, accurate, and honest if humanity is to understand the enormity of the challenges we face in creating a sustainable future.” 

Blumstein continues: “Without political will backed by tangible action that scales to the enormity of the problems facing us, the added stresses to human health, wealth, and well-being will perversely diminish our political capacity to mitigate the erosion of the Earth’s life-support system upon which we all depend.”


Lead image courtesy of Kirill Shipitsin / TASS.


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