published on 14 March 2019 in ecosystems
Global Environmental Outlook 2019
In Nairobi, during the third day of the United Nations Environment Assembly, the sixth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6), an accurate report on our Planet’s state of health, written by 250 scientists and experts from over 70 Countries, was presented. The over 700 pages of the report paint a disheartening picture that in many respects is already well-known, and give the latest data on the state of the waters, soil, air and biodiversity. It is now beyond doubt that the actions of humans are causing irreversible damage to the environment, such that they threaten the “ ecological foundations of society” and human health. Without effective and decisive actions, in 2050 we will be seeing millions of premature deaths.
And human health is not all that is at risk. Rates of extinction of species seem destined to increase at a speed that may endanger the capacity of the Earth to satisfy human needs. No less than 42% of terrestrial species of the invertebrates risk extinction. As far as vertebrates are concerned, between 1970 and 2014 the total number of populations of species decreased on average by 60%.
According to scientists, a determined effort is indispensable at global level – including drastic reduction of CO2 emissions, better management of resources and reduction of pollution – to avoid the worst effects. But we need to act quickly, because the window of opportunity for action is closing fast. “The science is clear,” said Joyce Msuya, Acting Executive Director of UN Environment (UNEP), “The health and prosperity of humanity is directly tied with the state of our environment. This report is an outlook for humanity. We are at a crossroads. Do we continue on our current path, which will lead to a bleak future for humankind, or do we pivot to a more sustainable development pathway? That is the choice our political leaders must make, now.”