The most comprehensive global review to date of the interrelationship between people and nature. The time is now- AAAS Science review
For decades, scientists have been raising calls for societal changes that will reduce our impacts on nature. Though much conservation has occurred, our natural environment continues to decline under the weight of our consumption. Humanity depends directly on the output of nature; thus, this decline will affect us, just as it does the other species with which we share this world. Díaz et al. review the findings of the largest assessment of the state of nature conducted as of yet. The authors report that the state of nature, and the state of the equitable distribution of nature's support, is in serious decline. Only immediate transformation of global business-as-usual economies and operations will sustain nature as we know it, and us, into the future.
The human impact on life on Earth has increased sharply since the 1970s, driven by the demands of a growing population with rising average per capita income. Nature is currently supplying more materials than ever before, but this has come at the high cost of unprecedented global declines in the extent and integrity of ecosystems, distinctness of local ecological communities, abundance and number of wild species, and the number of local domesticated varieties. Such changes reduce vital benefits that people receive from nature and threaten the quality of life of future generations. Both the benefits of an expanding economy and the costs of reducing nature’s benefits are unequally distributed.
The fabric of life on which we all depend—nature and its contributions to people—is unravelling rapidly. Despite the severity of the threats and lack of enough progress in tackling them to date, opportunities exist to change future trajectories through transformative action. Such action must begin immediately, however, and address the root economic, social, and technological causes of nature’s deterioration.
The most comprehensive global review to date of the interrelationship between people and nature makes it evident that the challenges posed by biodiversity loss, climate change, and achieving a good quality of life for all are deeply interconnected and need to be addressed ín an integrative manner—and urgently—from local to global levels. Maintaining a life-sustaining and life-fulfilling planet for humans and other species are thus one and the same challenge—a challenge that cannot be met by business as usual.
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