More than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries have a message for the rest of us: If we keep shoving cheeseburgers down our goozles, bulldozing forests to build a never-ending stream of strip malls and producing young ‘uns like there is no tomorrow, there might be no tomorrow.
They didn’t say it exactly like that, but they did say in a Nov. 13 letter called “Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” that we humans “are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats.”
I think my interpretation is fairly accurate.
The new letter includes the words “Second Notice,” according to the journal BioScience, because more than 1,700 scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, signed the first letter “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity” in 1992. It was largely ignored by humanity as if it were just another offer to switch to DIRECTV or a bill we had no intention of paying.
“These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that ‘a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided,’” reads the new letter. “Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.”
There are 13 suggested solutions in the new letter, including wider availability of contraception, promoting plant-based diets and renewable energy and the expansion of protected reserves for threatened plants and wildlife.
“To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual," the letter reads.
It’s an important letter about the future of our planet, but I fear that it may be too general and not specific enough. Perhaps the letter should be tailored for each individual to help him or her understand the significance of the threat. For example, here is a personalized version of the letter to someone we will call Jimbo:
Hey, Jimbo – What’s up, man? First off, all of us 15,000 scientists want to say “Roll Tide!” Hell, yeah!
The reason we’re writing is we’re scared the world is going to blow up, dude. It’s not going to be real quick like an M-80 tied to a cat’s tail, but kind of a slower, over-time explosion like what eventually happened to Ray-Ray’s meth lab in his outbuilding.
We were all sitting around the other day, all 15,000 of us, having a couple of beers and talking about how we might keep the world from blowing up and we hit on a few ideas.
Now, we know this might sound crazy, but the next time you want a cheeseburger, how about a salad instead? Not a taco salad or a southwestern chicken salad, but a salad with no meat. We’ll see if we can come up with a coupon.
Also, have you thought about solar panels for your grow house? There should be some real good renewable energy tax incentives on that, once you start paying your taxes.
And we don’t mean to stick our 15,000 noses too far into your personal business, but the 10 children you’ve fathered by four women are enough to field a baseball team plus one reserve utility infielder, so you might want to look into having that Tommy Johnson surgery.
Will it work? Let’s hope so.
“Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out,” reads the actual letter. “We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.”
Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion, N.C. and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifield@mcdowellnews,com.