In 1992 seventeen hundred of the world’s leading scientists issued a Warning to Humanity. The scientists warned that, “Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.”
Since the Warning was issued Earth’s population has increased from 5.5 billion in 1992 to over 7.5 billion today. Those extra 2 billion human passengers on the planet are equal to the entire globe’s population in 1930. In those 26 years we’ve seen further degradation of the planet’s land, air, and water to support humanity and thousands of other species. Now, in 2018, over 20,000 scientists from around the world have joined in issuing a second warning.
The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice warns that runaway consumption of limited resources by a rapidly growing population is crippling the Earth’s life-support systems and jeopardizing our future. Identifying population as a “main driver” of the crisis, the scientists recommended actions including reducing fertility rates through education, family planning, and rallying leaders behind the goal of establishing a sustainable human population.
Following a lack of meaningful response to the warning, sustainable population groups from the U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada and France issued a joint statement which they sent to their respective governments. The statement calls on governments to take action in response to the scientists’ second warning. World Population Balance is proud to have been one of the main initiators of this collaboration.
Organizations and individuals are invited to endorse the Scientists’ Warning at scientistswarning.org. Joining together with leading scientific thinkers of the day, we can begin to put pressure on governments and other institutions to take action to promote sustainable population and a more sustainable future.
Dave Gardner, Executive Director of World Population Balance, noted, “The environmental crisis described by the scientists is so severe, we simply cannot afford to ignore their warning. We must act, and we must begin now.”
Global Statement & Call to Action
World Population Day July 11, 2018
Twenty-six years ago, 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists urged humankind to curtail environmental destruction and improve our stewardship of the Earth, in order to attain a sustainable future.
In 2017, the Alliance of World Scientists published a second Warning to Humanity, supported by over 20,000 scientists in 184 countries, pointing to runaway consumption of limited resources by a still rapidly growing population. It warned that:
“Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.
"…We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats"
Their warning calls for changes in public policy and individual behaviors. It lists 13 policy measures essential to safeguarding our future, including “estimating a scientifically defensible, sustainable human population size for the long term while rallying nations and leaders to support that vital goal.”
Actions people can take as individuals include “limiting our own reproduction” and “drastically diminishing” our per capita resource consumption.
Our lack of adequate and appropriate action since 1992 risks condemning our children to a bleak and challenging future. The global population has grown by more than two billion people. Hard-won progress in human rights and social justice is at risk.
As in 1992, the Second Warning has not received the attention it demands. To mark World Population Day (11 July), the undersigned organizations call on national governments and international institutions to respond to the Warning to Humanity with urgent action. Specifically, we call on them to:
• Detail what actions they intend to take regarding the 13 specific policy prescriptions it lays out, including promoting a sustainable population size.
• Endorse the Scientists' Warning to Humanity
All signatories to this statement are committed to the goal of a sustainable world population, achieved through ethical, humane and non-coercive means that fully respect human rights.
Démographie Responsible (France)
Population Institute (U.S.)
Population Institute Canada
Population Matters (U.K.)
Population Media Center (U.S.)
Sustainable Population Australia
World Population Balance (U.S.)