Lohan, hot dogs and soccer a priority?
When the media misses the message,
the whole world suffers
If we were to judge our priorities by the amount of space devoted to stories in the news, we’d have to figure that the World Cup, controversy at a hot-dog-eating contest and Lindsay’s shenanigans were the most important issues.
Meanwhile, news about vanishing species, climate change, and loss of topsoil appears briefly, often buried in the B section of the newspaper, before vanishing.
It’s been this way for a while. Back in 1992, some of the world’s most prominent scientists issued an urgent warning about imminent ecological collapse.
The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, signed by 1,700 top scientists from 71 countries, including 104 Nobel laureates, began with the statement: “Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course.” Major television networks and newspapers ignored the warning.
Two years before the World Scientists’ Warning, astronomer Carl Sagan presented a remarkable appeal from scientists to religious leaders at the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival, in Moscow. It was signed by 32 Nobel Prize–winning and other scientists and is well worth quoting:
“The Earth is the birthplace of our species and, as far as we know, our only home. When our numbers were small and our technology feeble, we were powerless to influence the environment of our world. But today, suddenly … our numbers have become immense and our technology has achieved vast, even awesome, powers. Intentionally or inadvertently, we are now able to make devastating changes in the global environment, an environment to which we and all other beings with which we share the Earth are meticulously and exquisitely adapted.
“Efforts to safeguard and cherish the environment need to be infused with a vision of the sacred. At the same time, a much wider and deeper understanding of science and technology is needed. If we do not understand the problem, it is unlikely we will be able to fix it.”
At the conference, 271 spiritual leaders from 83 countries added their names to the document.
Now, 20 years later, we must regain our foresight and remember these powerful warnings from scientific and religious leaders.
They’re even more relevant today.