The United Nations Environment Programme says that major threats to the planet such as climate change, the rate of extinction of species, and the challenge of feeding a growing population are among the many that remain unresolved, and all of them put humanity at risk.
The warning comes in UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4) report published 20 years after the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) produced its seminal report, Our Common Future.
GEO-4, the latest in UNEP’s series of flagship reports, assesses the current state of the global
atmosphere, land, water and biodiversity, describes the changes since 1987, and identifies priorities for action. GEO-4 is the most comprehensive UN report on the environment, prepared
by about 390 experts and reviewed by more than 1 000 others across the world.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: “The international community’s response to the Brundtland Commission has in some cases been courageous and inspiring. But all too often it has been slow and at a pace and scale that fails to respond to or recognize the magnitude of the challenges facing the people and the environment of the planet”.
What do you want for your children this Christmas?
GEO-4 recalls the Brundtland Commission’s statement that the world does not face separate crises – the “environmental crisis”, “development crisis”, and “energy crisis” are all one. This crisis includes not just climate change, extinction rates and hunger, but other problems driven by growing human numbers, the rising consumption of the rich and the desperation of the poor.
• decline of fish stocks;
• loss of fertile land through degradation;
• unsustainable pressure on resources;
• dwindling amount of fresh water available for humans and other creatures to share; and
• risk that environmental damage could pass unknown points of no return.
Get the report summary here. Just don’t read it to your kids.