Humankind is facing an imminent threat of extinction, according to new research released on Wednesday by the science journal Nature. The report Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere reveals that our planet’s biosphere is steadily approaching a ‘tipping point’, meaning all ecosystems are nearing sudden and irreversible change that will not be conducive to human life.
"We have reason to believe the change may be abrupt and surprising," said co-researcher Arne Mooers, a professor of biodiversity at Simon Fraser University in Canada's British Columbia. (Photo: Image Science & Analysis Laboratory , NASA Johnson Space Center)
The authors describe what they see as a fast paced ‘state shift’ once the tipping point is reached, which contrasts with the mainstream view that environmental change will take centuries. “It’s a question of whether it is going to be manageable change or abrupt change. And we have reason to believe the change may be abrupt and surprising,” said co-researcher Arne Mooers, a professor of biodiversity at Simon Fraser University in Canada’s British Columbia.
“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,” stated lead author Anthony Barnosky, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California in Berkeley.
“My colleagues who study climate-induced changes through the Earth’s history are more than pretty worried,” he said in a press release. “In fact, some are terrified,” said co-researcher Arne Mooers, a professor of biodiversity at Simon Fraser University in Canada’s British Columbia.
The report, written by 22 scientists from three continents ahead of this year’s Rio+20 summit, claims that the ‘state shift’ is likely; however, humans may have a small window to curb over-consumption, over-population growth and environmental destruction, with drastic efforts to change the way we live on planet earth through international cooperation.