European Dimension: …. A resounding silence greets the Scientists’ 2nd Warning to Humanity

The second warning from scientists and academics on the state of the planet received scant media attention. This is despite the fact that 15,000 of them from 184 different countries signed up to the “Second Warning” to alert humanity to the risks that face it. At least in Italy we have some excuse, given our preoccupation with the failure to qualify for the World Cup and the tortuous path to elections and the formation of a new government …

This is the second such Warning. The first, in  1992, was signed by a “mere” 1700 scientists. But even back then the world was being warned about the degradation of natural resources. The new warning is even more chilling. It lists the problems to be tackled in a way that is both concise and dramatic:

a) Reduction of the Ozone layer; b) Reduction in the amount of drinking water available per head; c) Reduction in marine reserves; d) Increase in “dead” zones; e) Reduction in forest coverage; f) Reduction in vertebrate species, g) Increase in annual CO2 emissions; h) Increase in T°, i) Increase in world population (of both people and ruminants).

Apart from the ozone issue, on all the other matters humanity is moving haltingly and with results that are the contrary of those required. The recommended measures include an increase in protected areas such as reserves (both terrestrial and marine) and combating the criminal activities that are devastating natural reserves.

Let’s look at what they said in the warning about the soil[1].

“Loss of soil productivity, which is causing extensive land abandonment, is a widespread by-product of current practices in agriculture and animal husbandry. Since 1945, 11 percent of the earth’s vegetated surface has been degraded—an area larger than India and China combined—and per capita food production in many parts of the world is decreasing.”

It is our view that this should be the starting point for any analysis and discussion to be undertaken in the EU about safeguarding the soil. It is only in this part of the world that we can create the synergies (political, economic, social and environmental) that are needed to halt and reverse these constant threats. We therefore concur with the conclusions of the Second Warning, which ask for commitment and dialogue from all, and not just those of goodwill.


[1] Note that the loss of soil productivity was listed as a concern in the 1992 scientists’ warning.