Seven steps to avoid the irreversible degradation of nature

Scientists need to leave their labs to address the Anthropocene

This summer 7,000 botanists from 77 countries – attending the largest international conference of plant scientists in nearly a decade – agreed, almost unanimously, to focus their research and educational efforts on finding solutions to increasing environmental degradation, unsustainable resource use, and biodiversity loss.

Time and again – throughout the XIX International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen, China – botanists from around the world recognised that our planet is changing in ways that will substantially affect the social, political, and economic frameworks of our lives for the foreseeable future. And everyone there agreed that these immense changes are the result of unbridled human activities across the planet. The Anthropocene is here.

The Shenzhen Declaration on Plant Sciences, conceived and composed by a broadly representative group of scientists and endorsed by the Congress, aims to raise awareness that botanists need to take social and political action if the accelerating rate of environmental change around the globe is to be slowed. It calls on all scientists to commit to immediate action in both their lifestyles and their research programmes to find solutions before the crossing of a threshold that will inevitably lead to irreversible degradation of societies, natural habitats and biodiversity.

Read the full article in the Guardian.