Six Interactive Global Crises
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Humankind is facing six interactive global crises: (1) climate change, (2) overpopulation, (3) species impoverishment (i.e., loss of biodiversity), (4) ecological overshoot (i.e., ecological deficit), (5) excessive use of fossil fuels (i.e., which release carbon dioxide when burned), (6) inadequate food and water. Since, the crises are interactive, they must be resolved simultaneously; furthermore, since they are all global, only a global solution by all nations will suffice. Since these crises are probably all at or near a major tipping point, major action mut be immediate. Failure to resolve any of the issues almost certainly means the end of civilization as it currently exists. The present population numbers, density, and distribution mean that failure to resolve even one fo the six crises could have catastrophic coonsequences. The obstacles to reaching these goals are formidable since anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are still increasing dramatically, expontial population growth continues, biodiversity loss is at an unacceptable level, ecological overshoot day occurs earlier each year, the global financial recession has reduced fossil fuel consumption but economically retrievable reserves are diminishing, and climate change is having adverse effects upon both agricultural productivity and supplies of freshwater. Ironically, rapid economic growth has caused, directly or indirectily, all of these problems, as has exponential human population growth and resource consumption. Since global climate change is irreversible, the climate change occuring after each tipping point will persist. Each of these major changes will affect the biosphere, of which human kind is a part. Failure to adapt to these changes ill mean extinction for many species and could include Homo sapiens.However, if the five great past extinctions are a reliable guide, then life will survive and, over evolutionary time, biodiversity will be restored. The present biosphere is worth preserving since it hs maintained conditions favorable to hominids for 4 million years and since it is the source of resources upon which the human economy depends.