“Humanity is facing major challenges…urgent actions are needed”
Can we act as a true community?
By Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Jan 11, 2012 (IPS)
Humanity is driving Earth’s climate and ecosystems towards dangerous tipping points, requiring radical new forms of international cooperation and governance, experts say.
“We’re facing a planetary emergency,” said Owen Gaffney of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme based in Stockholm.
“We need to have a ‘constitutional moment’ in world politics, akin to the major transformative shift in governance after 1945 that led to the establishment of the United Nations and numerous other international organisations,” said Frank Biermann of VU University Amsterdam and director of the Earth System Governance Project.
“Humanity is facing major challenges…urgent actions are needed,” Biermann told IPS.
Those challenges include, but are not limited to, increasing poverty, food, water and energy security, the financial crisis, climate change, ocean acidification, the loss of biodiversity. All of these challenges and their solutions are interconnected.
Normally, the complex, mutually dependent systems of the Earth can self-correct and are remarkably stable. However, they can reach thresholds or tipping points and then unexpectedly and abruptly shift, Gaffney said in an interview.
“We need only recall how the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis nearly collapsed the global financial system,” he said.
The upcoming Rio+20 conference on sustainable development needs to be the moment in human history when the nations of the world come together to find ways to ensure “the very survival of humanity”, he said. Continue reading