Review: Pervasive human-driven decline of life on Earth points to the need for transformative change (Science)

Reading this review by Diaz et al. feels a bit like reading a bad report card. Although we know we’re failing in our role as Earth’s stewards, we don’t always want to be reminded of this. But, in this case we need to read and act on the suggestions for improvement. The authors review the findings of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report. It’s a comprehensive review, starting with a look at life on Earth today and an assessment of how it is being impacted by human activities. The authors point out that many activities impact remotely (telecoupling), so international cooperation is needed to implement the urgently needed changes. They point to “five priority interventions (“levers” e.g., environmental law and cross-sectoral cooperation) and eight leverage points (e.g., reduce consumption and inequalities and promote education). Plants, as providers of ecosystem services, food, bioenergy and carbon storage, are instrumental to these efforts.  (Summary by Mary Williams) Science 10.1126/science.aax3100