Ultimately, all humanity and all life have is the biosphere, the thin layer of life just above and below Earth’s surface, composed of ancient, miraculously evolved natural ecosystems. The natural Earth is a marvel – a complex coupling of species within ecosystems, whereby life begets life.
Ecology is far more than the study of life and its environment. The word is used here as a synonym for ecosystems – the vibrant connections that emerge between species across scales, which cumulatively make life on Earth possible.
Humankind’s demand for resources and growth overwhelms nature, our steady diminishment of ecosystems abruptly changes climate, and this is collapsing the biosphere. Global ecosystems – water, air, food, forests, oceans, wetlands, and more – are collapsing and dying under the burden of human industrial and population growth.
Sustainability Solutions Exist
Workable solutions to climate change and broad-based environmental decline exist; they include ending fossil fuels, protecting and restoring ecosystems, agro-ecological food production, reducing population and inequity, and establishing a steady state economy. Plainly, however, such a transition is not going to be easy. Solutions to avert global ecosystem collapse will be disruptive. Yet there is no alternative if together humanity is to survive and enjoy well-being within Earth’s ecological boundaries.