New data and assessments suggest that resilience of the planet is now at risk
Almost half of the processes that are crucial to maintaining the stability of the planet have become dangerously compromised by human activity. That is the view of an international team of 18 researchers who provide new evidence of significant changes in four of the nine systems which regulate the resilience of the Earth. One of the systems which has been seriously affected is the nitrogen-phosphorus cycle which is essential to all life, and is particularly important to both food production and the maintenance of clean water.
“People depend on food, and food production depends on clean water,” says Prof. Elena Bennett from McGill’s School of the Environment who contributed the research on the nitrogen-phosphorus cycle to the study. “This new data shows that our ability both to produce sufficient food in the future and to have clean water to drink and to swim in are at risk.”
The research fixing new planetary boundaries (which represent thresholds or tipping points beyond which there will be irreversible and abrupt environmental change) was published today in the journal Science. It suggests that changes to the Earth’s climate, biosphere integrity (a concept covering loss of biodiversity and species extinction), and land-system (through deforestation for example) represent a risk for current and future societies. The fourth process which has become significantly compromised is the nitrogen-phosphorus cycle, which affects both the water we drink and our ability to produce food.
There are two issues relating to the state of the phosphorus-nitrogen cycle. Both elements are essential to plant and animal life. But one of the problems is that phosphorus, which is used as a fertilizer for fields and lawns is in limited supply, and that supply is geopolitically concentrated. Nearly 90% of all known phosphorus reserves are found in just three countries – the vast majority is in Morocco, with China, Algeria coming in next.
The second issue is that the excess of phosphorus-based fertilisers that drain from fields and lawns into neighbouring lakes can have disastrous effects on the surrounding water. It can lead to the sudden growth of algae that can cause the decline or death of other lake organisms and produce toxins that are dangerous to people or animals that swim in the lake or get drinking water from it.
“About half a million residents of the city of Toledo found out that their tap water had been contaminated with a toxin called microcystin last summer. And in 2007 the Quebec government declared that more than 75 lakes were affected by toxins produced by blue-green algae, says Prof. Bennett. ”This kind of problem is likely to become much more common. We will see more lakes closed, will have to pay more to clean our water, and we will face temporary situations where our water is not cleanable or drinkable more and more frequently. That’s what it means to have crossed this planetary boundary. It’s not a good thing for any of us.”
The Latest on: Stability of planet compromised
via Google News
The Latest on: Stability of planet compromised
- FIFA recommends extending contractson April 7, 2020 at 2:08 pm
With most football across the planet on indefinite lockdown amid the spread of COVID ... President Gianni Infantino hopes the proposals will "serve to bring a measure of stability and clarity to ...
- Coronavirus: FIFA recommends extending contracts, amending transfer windowson April 7, 2020 at 11:11 am
Among them was the matter of player contracts, which generally coincide with the calendar of the season, meaning many professionals will see their terms expire before the delayed 2019-20 campaign can ...
- FIFA recommends changes to transfer window, player contractson April 7, 2020 at 9:58 am
“Whilst this will not solve each and every problem, it should serve to bring a measure of stability and clarity to football for the foreseeable future. We hope that this collaborative effort, under ...
- This Is Year Zero for Life in Britainon April 6, 2020 at 6:30 am
We're told that things are changing, that bits of the planet are shifting, that our systems are on the brink – yet ... Arthur. Our illusion of safety, of stability, of political temperance, of "we don ...
- Daily horoscope for Sunday April 5 — here’s what the stars have in store for you todayon April 4, 2020 at 6:50 pm
April 21 to May 21 You can create stability in bonds on every level as Venus ... Across your life, persistence is your planet power, but be sure to include others in your plans from the start, not ...
- Free Will Astrology (March 19)on March 19, 2020 at 1:15 pm
Here's the astrological lowdown: Throughout 2020, there's a rare confluence of three planets in Capricorn ... Your power spot may be challenged or compromised. 2. Your master plan might unravel.
- Week of March 18on March 17, 2020 at 9:00 pm
Here’s the astrological lowdown: Throughout 2020, there’s a rare confluence of three planets in Capricorn ... Your power spot may be challenged or compromised. 2. Your master plan might ...
- Republican reneging on the social contract in times of crisis breeds disasteron March 14, 2020 at 2:02 pm
A violation by any of the signatories – individuals, groups, governments – jeopardizes the very stability of that ... in national capitals across the planet, and as initial cases spread ...
- Oceanographer urges action to alleviate climate woeson March 13, 2020 at 3:16 pm
“There may be life on Mars or somewhere else out there but we know we’ve got a richly populated planet and our lives ... decades to seriously unravel and compromise those very systems, whether ...
- Praising Arizona: an afternoon with a mindful model and activiston March 4, 2020 at 4:45 am
But Arizona doesn’t feel compromised and she certainly has no ... tomorrow and no one would ever choose me again. There is no stability in modelling, and with a child I certainly felt this ...
via Bing News