A viewpoint article published by the Alliance of World Scientists (AWS) in October outlined the increasing importance of changing human behavior to avoid environmental destruction. The current article is an update to a 1992 paper published by the Union of Concerned Scientists warning the public that current human practices would soon lead to devastating conditions such as ocean acidification and dead zones, ozone depletion, decreased freshwater availability, marine-life depletion, forest loss, and biodiversity destruction. “A great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required,” the 1992 warning stated, “if vast human misery is to be avoided.” The new document builds on the previous warning, but with more urgency, by outlining how the aforementioned negative environmental trends have accelerated in the past 25 years. “It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors,” the current warning advised, “including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources.” The warning—which was signed by 15,000 scientists from 184 countries—further recommends adopting and promoting a plant-based diet to reduce environmental degradation.
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