Scientists Find Evidence Humanity Is Running Out Of Time

By Robert Scucci | Published

According to The Guardian, Earth is quickly approaching a threshold that will put humanity in danger. Scientists have assessed the situation, and found that six out of nine sets of conditions, known as planetary boundaries, have been broken, meaning that the health of our planet is worse for wear.

Despite the evidence, however, there is hope to reverse many of these conditions, but experts assert that we have to be proactive, rather than reactive with our approach to solving our ongoing issues with climate change, among other critical issues that need to be addressed.

The 9 Planetary Boundaries

The concept of planetary boundaries was conceived in 2009, and updated in 2015, but at that time there were only seven boundaries to be considered. As of this writing, there are nine planetary boundaries that need to be factored when assessing the overall health of our planet.

The six planetary boundaries that have been transgressed include biosphere integrity, climate change, freshwater changes, land system changes, the introduction of novel entities like nuclear waste, and biochemical flows through global element cycles.

Presently, ocean acidification and atmospheric aerosol loading are approaching their own transgressions, meaning that eight out of nine of the planetary boundaries will soon be crossed if we don’t start taking climate change seriously.

There’s Still Hope

But thanks to past efforts to reduce the amount of destructive chemicals in the air, the hole in our ozone layer has shrunk in recent decades, meaning that we’re a safe distance from stratospheric ozone depletion, which is the ninth boundary.

The current status of our planet seems hopeless, but experts remain hopeful that we can not only reverse some of the damages, but continue to thrive as a species if we continue to make efforts to get Earth back to more stable conditions.

Prof Katherine Richardson from the University of Copenhagen likened our climate change issues to a patient with high blood pressure. In other words, having high blood pressure doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to have a heart attack anytime soon, but if lifestyle changes aren’t made sooner rather than later then the risk will compound over time.

Though Professor Johan Rockström, the joint director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, is concerned over Earth’s “dwindling planetary resilience,” the current research suggests that more data is needed to figure out how each of the planetary boundaries interact with each other in their heightened states.

We know for certain that climate change is largely attributed to human activity, but what we don’t currently know is what the overall global impact will be if our behavior keeps pushing Earth’s complex systems further into disequilibrium.

Professor Simon Lewis from University College London, who was not involved in the initial study, stresses the importance of adjusting how we currently treat the environment. It’s no mystery that humans have been quite cavalier in how they’ve dispose of waste and pumped carbon emissions into the atmosphere, which has largely attributed to the climate change crisis. But rather than dwelling on the past, we need to stay focused on the future if we want humanity to continue to living safely on Earth.