Abstract - Environment on the Edge: Past and Future
Sir Crispin Tickell
Environmental change is accelerating worldwide. So far, most people have not come to terms with the situation which is unprecedented in the history of the planet.
The industrial revolution, which began some 250 years ago, has brought many benefits and some hazards. New and old technologies represent both. The current rapid proliferation of our species can be seen as a biological maladaptation. We have already seen some of the human impact on the land surface, the way in which its resources have been exploited, and the disposal of wastes. Then there are water problems, both of supply and quality, and the condition of the oceans. This leads into the complex issues of climate change, and the redistribution of weather patterns, good for some but bad for others. Finally, there is the ever-increasing loss of the diversity of life on which all organisms depend, and so far incalculable damage to ecosystems.
The intricate linkages between these issues are so far poorly understood. Many of the problems we have created are soluble if we try to solve them, but so far relatively little progress has been made. Governments and beyond them, the international institutions, have major responsibilities. But everyone, from individuals to communities of all kinds, has to be involved. The sooner we can begin the necessary shift towards different thinking, policy and behaviour, the easier and less painful it will be. Environment will remain on the edge until we do so. Our target should be a global society with population, resources and environment in broad balance.
by: Sir Crispin Tickell, Sat 19 June, 2010