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Scientists: Catastrophic Tipping Point Looming

2012/06/13

The evidence continues to pile up: humanity’s uncontrolled appetite for slashing, burning, and polluting is rapidly pushing the earth’s ecosystem to a tipping point that will have disastrous consequences for our children and grandchildren:

A prestigious group of scientists from around the world is warning that population growth, widespread destruction of natural ecosystems, and climate change may be driving Earth toward an irreversible change in the biosphere, a planet-wide tipping point that would have destructive consequences absent adequate preparation and mitigation.

“It really will be a new world, biologically, at that point,” warns Anthony Barnosky, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, and lead author of a review paper appearing in the June 7 issue of the journal Nature. “The data suggests that there will be a reduction in biodiversity and severe impacts on much of what we depend on to sustain our quality of life, including, for example, fisheries, agriculture, forest products and clean water. This could happen within just a few generations.”

Co-author Elizabeth Hadly from Stanford University said “we may already be past these tipping points in particular regions of the world. I just returned from a trip to the high Himalayas in Nepal, where I witnessed families fighting each other with machetes for wood – wood that they would burn to cook their food in one evening. In places where governments are lacking basic infrastructure, people fend for themselves, and biodiversity suffers. We desperately need global leadership for planet Earth.”

The authors note that studies of small-scale ecosystems show that once 50-90 percent of an area has been altered, the entire ecosystem tips irreversibly into a state far different from the original, in terms of the mix of plant and animal species and their interactions. This situation typically is accompanied by species extinctions and a loss of biodiversity.Read the full story at UC Berkeley’s website.

Now, take a big breath into your heart space, and think about what you love, and what you would defend fiercely. Now is the time to do all three of those at the same time – breathing/loving/protecting – in and out, over and over. It’s the “great turning”; humanity has the chance to grow up; we are alive in an extraordinary time. We – you, and me, and each one of the people alive today – have the opportunity to take a huge evolutionary step towards living cooperatively with each other, and realizing the sacredness of each life on earth, of “all our relations” as the Anishinaabe say, and of the earth herself.  “Hope isn’t something you have, it’s something you do,” says eco-philosopher Joanna Macy. Go to JoannaMacy.net for more information on, and tools for, on The Great Turning.

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More links:

JoannaMacy.net

Spring of Sustainability.com

Derrick Jensen: Beyond Hope

6 Comments leave one →
  1. 2012/06/13 10:59 am

    Christine, I do not have access to Nature online so, I cannot thank you enough for bringing the Berkeley article on the research findings to my attention.

  2. 2012/06/13 4:16 pm

    Isn’t the internet wonderful? :)
    You’re welcome, Martin – thx for visiting so faithfully!

  3. klem permalink
    2012/06/14 7:23 am

    Hey I visit faithfully too, but no one has thanked me. Sheesh.

    • 2012/06/14 9:55 am

      Thank you for visiting 350orbust, Klem. We are all on this journey together.

    • 2012/06/15 5:25 am

      Sorry to get all Messianic on you Klem, but I really do think that your behaviour (and that of all those who are supposedly “sceptical”) is yet another fulfillment of these famous words:
      “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving…'” (Matthew 13:13-14)

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