Crisis of the week: the biosphere … new “Statement” percolated, circulated and endorsed

Courtesy of today’s edition of Nature magazine:

Getting the word out on biosphere crisis [link is to ReadCube’s freebie preview -hro]

A landmark statement released last week, formulated from a review published in Nature last year, illustrates how effectively and rapidly bridges can be built between science and society. The review suggested that human influence may be forcing the global ecosystem towards a rapid, irreversible, planetary-scale shift.

An international group of 16 scientists spent the next few months developing the statement and circulating it to the global-change scientific community.

The resulting statement — ‘Maintaining humanity’s life support systems in the 21st century’ (see — is endorsed by more than 500 global-change researchers whose work spans every continent. It warns that unless decisive countermeasures are put into place immediately, climate change, loss of ecological diversity, extinctions, environmental contamination, human population growth and overconsumption of resources will degrade our quality of life within a few decades.
[…] (emphasis added -hro)

Can an “overwhelming scientific consensus” on this latest and greatest scary story be far behind?! Who knows how “sustainable” or “resilient” it might be, eh?

But the percolation and circulation processes are very reminiscent of the pages found in the climate consensus coordinators’ cookbook.

UPDATE: 05/30/2013

OMG! It’s worse than I thought! This “consensus” isn’t “overwhelming” (yet), but they do claim that it’s “scientific”. The list of 500+ signatories includes many of the usual suspects: Mann, Gleick, Weaver, Hansen, Karoly, Ehrlich, and Suzuki.

I don’t know how many of these signatories actually read this “Statement” before they signed. It is somewhat garish and amateurish in appearance (particularly the “Executive Summary”). However, they certainly seem to have made a valiant attempt to get the word out. Not sure how many additional names they might have acquired since May 21. But they might have scared off more than a few, with their opening volley:


Here are the links to the organization [formerly known as Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA)] and to their Statement:

Millennium Alliance for Humanity & the Biosphere (MAHB)

Executive Summary Consensus Statement (PDF)

Consensus Statement (PDF)


7 thoughts on “Crisis of the week: the biosphere … new “Statement” percolated, circulated and endorsed

  1. Pingback: These items caught my eye – 30 May 2013 | grumpydenier

  2. The “Getting the word out…” item bears the name of Dr. Elizabeth A Hadly (Dept of Biology, Stanford University), who is mentioned in an article, about planetary tipping points, that appeared shortly before Rio+20 last year:

    ‘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.”‘

    I beg to disagree with Dr. Hadly – rather than “global leadership for planet Earth”, the Nepalese desperately need the cheap, abundant energy provided by fossil fuels that would mean they didn’t have to fight one another for firewood.

    (Also the rather coy title “Getting the word out…” etc., belies the fact that the people of planet Earth have been hit repeatedly over the head with this sort of doomsday message for almost half a century now!)

    • Thanks, Alex. I thought her name sounded familiar when I first saw the blurb on the Nature site. This letter has three “co-signers” as well, although their details are contained in the Supplementary Information (in fact those are the only details in the SI!)

      It simply boggles the mind, though, that they keep recycling these very, very tired messages of doom ‘n gloom (unless, of course we all “act now”).

      Whatever their hopes for change might be, the madness of their method certainly doesn’t seem to be accomplishing the desired effect on the general public … in fact, the effect is quite the opposite, and they haven’t figured it out, yet!

      These academics must lead a very sheltered life within their cloistered towers of ivory, eh?!

  3. Yesterday upon the stair
    I met a crisis that wasn’t there.
    It wasn’t there again today;
    I wish, I wish
    It would go away.

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