The four elements are highlighted below.
Human-driven climate change – This is something that we see in the news constantly, and is a point that brings controversy with it. The fact is that levels of carbon dioxide levels are at reaching all time highs, at 395.5 parts per million. The temperature of the World is changing, with 2014 being the hottest year on record. It is impossible to deny that there are no consequences to this.
Loss of biosphere integrity – The natural hierarchies seen in nature are being disrupted, many apex predators are close to extinction and this is having an unimaginable impact on the whole structure of the biosphere. The rate of extinction is increasing rapidly, up to 1000x more quickly than we have seen previously. Overfishing is also devastating the oceans. It is time we realised that everything is interconnected. Disrupting small areas of an eco-system can snowball into mass extinction and irreparable damage to the environment.
Land system change – Populations have increased seven-fold since the 1950s, and the demand for food is higher than ever. Land is being used intensively to farm, going against the natural wisdom of the Earth. Too much space is used for single crops, animals are reared in terrible conditions and chemicals are used in almost every aspect of the process.
High level of phosphorus and nitrogen in the ocean – This is the result of wash off from fertiliser, which is used in consistently higher quantities year on year.
As seen in the quote above, cross-scale interactions are required to reach a solution. We need to work together across the globe to support the systems that underpin our quality of life. The current rate of change in the environment seen over the last 60 years is unmatched by the previous 10,000 years. The question that we should be asking is why we think humans can evolve to match this unprecedented rate.
The ‘new state’ that has been mentioned is not going to be as accommodating to human life, and the sole reason for this is precisely that…..human life. Professor Will Steffen, lead author of the studies said the following:
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