How is Earth’s health?
June 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Due to the Rio+20 Earth Summit held last week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published a report called GEO5 – Global Environmental Outlook – Environment for the future we want that revises the health status of the main environmental trends such as atmosphere, climate change, forests, fresh water, oceans or biodiversity to give some examples.
We believe this document should be spread everywhere because we all have the right to know how the health status of the planet is where we are living. Making an easy comparison, this would be like reading your clinical test results after a medical check. You want to know whether you are healthy or not, right? Then, why not learn about the Earth’s health? After all, your health status and Earth’s maybe are more interconnected than you think.
At Bloomtrigger we want to help spread this inform by making a brief summary of the environmental trends commented on above:
Earth’s Atmosphere. (Source: http://www.universetoday.com)
Atmosphere: The GEO-5 points out that the Montreal Protocol has managed to drastically reduce the amount of harmful substances in the ozone layer. This protocol, signed in Canada in 1987, is an excellent example of an international cooperation to solve a global environmental issue.
Global warming from 1960 to 2009. (Source: http://www.elpais.com)
Climate Change: The objective of limiting global warming to 2ºC, agreed at the Copenhagen Summit in 2009, moves ever further away. Due to the burning of fossil fuels which started during the industrial revolution and deforestation, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is the highest in the last 850,000 years, at nearly 400 ppm. The UNEP considers there is a need to end subsides that are harmful to the environment, particularly the fossil fuel subsides; The need to create carbon taxes and incentives for forest carbon capture. According to the International Energy Agency the fossil fuel subsidies are five times higher than the renewable energy subsidies.
Deforestation: The GEO-5 indicates that the pace of losing rainforest still remains alarmingly high and highlights that deforestation and forest degradation may impose larger economic costs for the global economy than losses resulting from the 2008 financial crisis. This is because the economic growth has taken place at the cost of natural resources and degradation of ecosystems.
Fresh water: There is good news in regards to the access to clean drinking water. In 1990, the United Nations set up the challenge of reducing the number of people with no access to clean drinking water by half before 2015. The target is about to be achieved. However, the UNEP points out that the targets set out for wastewater treatment is not going to be achieved as there are still 2.6 billion people with no access to wastewater treatment.
Oceans: The ocean degradation continues. The eutrophic costal zones – with proliferation of micro-organisms due to the contamination – have increased significantly since 1990; at least 415 costal zones have showed signs of serious eutrophication and among them only 13 are being recovered. In addition to the problem of the eutrophication, the excess of CO2 absorption from the atmosphere is causing the acidification of the oceans, which is a huge threat for the coral reefs and shellfish.
Biodiversity: Today the world is living through the “the sixth great extinction of species” as biodiversity is being lost at an unknown pace, the worst since the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago. The UNEP warns that two thirds of the species of some taxons are threatened with extinction. The populations of species generally have been declining significantly and since the 1970s the populations of vertebrates have declined by over 30%.
At Bloomtrigger we believe that while the situation is serious, there is no point in lamenting; it is time for action. Why don’t you start by signing up with the bloomtrigger project? Bloomtrigger aims to be one small, yet essential part of the solution.
- El País
- GEO5 – Global Environmental Outlook – Environment for the future we want