Time to act collectively to save planet, urge scientists
Dr Sharachchandra Lele, distinguished professor at ATREE, Bengaluru, is the only participant from India in this elite group.
BENGALURU: An expert group, constituted by The International Science Council, the apex body of all scientific associations from across the world, along with FutureEarth and Stockholm Environment Institute, drafted a letter urging the global community to understand and act collectively to save the environment. Dr Sharachchandra Lele, distinguished professor at ATREE, Bengaluru, is the only participant from India in this elite group.
The letter, released on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN conference, Stockholm+50, is an urgent call by the community of concerned scientists to the global human community to acknowledge that the earth “is in jeopardy”. “We are pushing our planet’s systems to the edge, threatening our own wellbeing and that of our future generations,’’ they said in the letter. They appealed for the “need to make personal and collective commitments in line with differences in privilege and responsibility and work towards transformative change”.
On the eve of the 1st UN Conference on Environment, held in Stockholm 50 years ago, a group of 2,200 scientists signed a letter, the ‘Menton Message’, addressed to the then 3.5 billion humans, calling for change. They had warned about the ongoing environment crisis, the nuclear arms race and the possibility of extinction of life on earth. The 2022 letter goes further than the Menton Message in pointing out the need for a broader ethical framework.
Dr Lele, who was also co-chair of the Expert Writing Group, pointed out that “technology empowers us to change the world -- science predicts its impacts and social science illuminates our motives. But only an ethical framework tells us whether and how we should change it. A holistic environmental ethic, encompassing concern for today for all humans, for future generations, for other species, and for participatory process, must be the beacon for all research and action.”
The 2022 letter also makes the important point that “although humans are ultimately responsible for the crisis, a minority are responsible for a majority of the damage, while those least responsible are hit hardest by the impact. This letter is an urgent call to our global neighbours to acknowledge the crisis, make personal and collective commitments in line with differences in line with differences in privilege and responsibility.”