Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. It arrives during a global health crisis that scientists have long predicted. Suddenly, we find ourselves in a real nightmare scenario that science warned us about, with human and social tragedies unfolding globally. The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic will stay with us for years.
Science has of course also warned us about the unfolding climate and environmental crises. For example, we know that:
- 75% of terrestrial ecosystems are “severely altered” by human actions
- Up to 1 million species are threatened with extinction
- Over 85% of wetlands have been lost
- We continue to lose forests at the rate of one football field per minute every day: one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions that have increased by about 90% since 1970
These trends simply cannot continue and need to be reversed.