The Sustainable Blogosphere has been abuzz with the release of the Global Millennium Assessment, and rightfully so: this report, four years in the making, vividly illustrates the degradation we've done to the planet's vital ecosystems, mostly in the last 50 years or so. I'd love to believe that this report might serve as a wake-up call, particularly here in the US where we're more guilty than any other nation of contributing to this overburdening of our natural systems. I'm afraid that the initial response from those in power will be a questioning of the UN (which sponsored the report) and more name-calling of the "Chicken Little" variety. One might be tempted to say this is more of the same negative outlook that the environmentalist community has been accused of repeatedly (and, to a small degree, deserves), but the facts presented by the GMA are too alarming for the typical period of ideological accusations. What can we do to make sure this report gets the attention it deserves (has it, for instance, received much or any attention in the mainstream press? Or has Terri Sciavo's passing drowned it out?)? How can we make sure that the MEA isn't just written off as more "sky is falling" rhetoric? Finally, how can we use this as a foundation for accentuating positive steps we can take towards alleviating ecosystem degradation while maintaining and even expanding a comfortable standard of living? None of these are easy questions, but we've got to grapple with them.
Update: Joel Makower has posted a long but informative analysis of "The Week in Ecosystems Services" that puts the MEA and other developments into a proper perspective. Required reading...
Another update: Fox News has jumped into high gear on this... From Media Matters for America.
Technorati tags: ecosystems, sustainable development