Top scientist demands an end to abuse of planet earth
Wednesday 21 June 2006
‘The looming sixth mass extinction serves as a stark warning to us that human beings are not using the planet sustainably’ states Professor Sir John Lawton CBE FRS at the ZSL Annual Stamford Raffles Lecture.
Sir John, Chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution and former Chief Executive of NERC, spoke on Biodiversity, Climate Change and Unsustainable Development to express his grave concerns for our continued disregard for our earth’s finite natural resources.
‘Every year we take for our own use between a quarter and a half of all terrestrial plant production, about a third of all marine plant production (via the fish we catch), and over half of all the readily available fresh water, and these numbers are growing exponentially,’ explained Sir John.
‘Utilising this level of resource is totally unfeasible on a planet of restricted means. It is vital that we now heed the warnings from the natural world, and radically rethink our relationship with the planet.
‘We must now look to a socially fairer world that seeks to massively reduce human use of the planet’s resources,’ he adds, with an ominous final message, ‘Doing nothing is no longer an option.’
In its role as an international scientific, conservation and education charity, ZSL works consistently to promote sustainable management of our world’s ecosystems and resources.
Ralph Armond, Director General of ZSL, added, ‘It is appropriate that Sir John has chosen to highlight such a key issue at our Annual Lecture.
ZSL’s scientific and conservation work has for many years demonstrated that we are failing to be aware of the effects of the demands that we are placing on our planet.
Recent evidence on a range of fronts confirms the seriousness of the problem, but also shows that actions must soon be put in place if we are to have any chance of reversing the impacts of our activities on the earth’s climate, natural ecosystem and, ultimately, its people.’
The Annual Stamford Raffles Lecture at ZSL has been running since 1995, with speakers including Professor Richard Dawkins and Sir David Attenborough.