Earth Faces Grave Ecological Crisis, Study Warns

Earth Faces Grave Ecological Crisis, Study Warns

The study conducted by the international scientist group Earth Commission, published in the journal Nature, reveals that Earth has exceeded seven out of eight scientifically established safety limits, indicating that the planet is entering a "danger zone." This not only poses a threat to the environment, such as the loss of natural areas and climate change, but also endangers the well-being of people living on Earth.

For the first time, the study incorporates measures of "justice," which focuses on preventing harm to countries, ethnicities, and genders. The research examines various factors including climate change, air pollution, water contamination from fertilizer use, groundwater supplies, fresh surface water, the unbuilt natural environment, and the overall natural and human-built environment. The only factor that has not surpassed the danger point globally is air pollution, although it remains hazardous at local and regional levels.

The study identifies "hotspots" of problem areas primarily in Eastern Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, parts of Africa, and significant portions of Brazil, Mexico, China, and certain regions of the U.S. West. Climate change contributes significantly to these issues. As an example, scientists note that approximately two-thirds of Earth fail to meet the criteria for freshwater safety.

Study co-author Kristie Ebi, a professor of climate and public health at the University of Washington, warns that the majority of Earth's system boundaries are now within the danger zone. The planet is facing multiple challenges, and the impact extends to the well-being of its inhabitants.

Although the situation is concerning, the study emphasizes that it is not a terminal diagnosis. The planet has the potential to recover if significant changes are made, including transitioning away from coal, oil, and natural gas, and adopting sustainable practices for land and water management. However, the lead author of the study, Johan Rockstrom, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, highlights that currently, the world is moving in the wrong direction regarding all of these crucial areas. Urgent action is necessary to mitigate the risks and steer the planet towards a healthier and more sustainable future.

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