An open letter in the French newspaper Le Monde calls for “firm and immediate” political action to counter climate change before it is too late.
Our collective awareness about climate change goes back at least a couple of decades ago. Had the world’s decision makers been prompt to face the challenge then, maybe the situation wouldn’t be as complicated as it is today.
According to Nathaniel Rich, the author of an investigation entitled “Losing Earth”, the world missed an excellent opportunity to stop global warming in the decade between 1979 to 1989, when “the conditions for success could not have been more favorable.”
Around that same decade (1979-1990), Margaret Thatcher was serving as the UK’s Prime Minister. She was one of the most outspoken leaders in her support for climate action.
“Until recently,” said Thatcher in a 1989 speech, “we’ve always thought that whatever progress humanity makes, our planet would stay much the same. That may no longer be true. The way we generate energy, the way we use land, the way industry uses natural resources and disposes of waste, the way our population multiplies. Those things taken together are new in the experience of the earth. They threaten to change the atmosphere above us and the sea around us…”
Now, we could well be on borrowed time.
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Letters
Upon an initiative by the French daily newspaper Le Monde, artists and scientists call politicians to take the necessary measures to save the planet from climate change while we still can.
200 physicists, biologists, ecologists, actors, moviemakers, authors, and other personalities from different walks of art and science in the world have signed the open letter.
“In the face of the greatest challenge in the history of humanity,” that’s threatening humans and other living species “it’s time to get serious,” said signatories of the letter.
While it is “too late that nothing happens: the collapse is underway, the sixth mass extinction is unfolding at an unprecedented speed,” the signatories think there is still time to avoid the worst.
The present letter comes a few days after the resignation on live radio of Nicolas Hulot, environment minister, and a lifelong environmental activist.
Last year, over 15,000 scientists from 184 countries signed a letter in BioScience journal, titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice”. The first notice was issued in 1992.
Le Monde’s letter is not the first “open letter” for climate change and there is little chance that it will be the last.