Humanity in danger: The decline of nature will endanger five billion people in 30 years

In the next 30 years, five billion people, particularly in Africa and South Asia, may be facing a shortage of drinking water and food.

In the next 30 years, five billion people, particularly in Africa and South Asia, may be facing a shortage of drinking water and food. Hundreds of millions more living in coastal areas could be hit by catastrophic floods. This is revealed by a modeling of services that nature will still be able to offer to human populations around the world in 2050 given the rapid decline in biodiversity, the results of which are published in the journal Science.

Drought in East Africa

The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) informed us that one million species are threatened with extinction and that the benefits that humans gain from nature would decrease accordingly. Nature contributes to the well-being of human populations in a variety of ways. It can be in the form of food resources through fishing and agriculture, or more indirectly by contributing to water purification, crop pollination and coastal protection against the devastating effects of storms, for example.


An international team led by Becky Chaplin-Kramer of Stanford University wanted to know where, in the world, the contributions of nature are most needed to ensure the well-being of the people and which populations in particular will scoop the most. nature degradation, in order to plan more targeted actions that would prevent damage.

To do this, researchers have mapped the needs, or even the dependence, of the different populations of the world on three particular services that nature provides them. The service provided by wetland plants and algae that filters pollutants, such as excess nitrates from fertilizers used to increase crop yields, and thereby provide access to drinking water. The service provided by coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes that mitigate coastal erosion and thereby reduce the impact of flood, wind and water level flooding. from the sea. And the service provided by natural pollinators, such as bees, which ensure fertile crops.

They also mapped nature’s current contributions to nitrate retention, coastal protection and crop pollination around the world. And they have pinpointed, with a precision of 300 meters by 300 meters, the places where these contributions are not enough to meet the needs of the populations, probably because of the degradation of nature, which results notably the presence of pollutants in the increased risk of flooding in coastal areas and crop losses as a result of insufficient pollination.


Using a modeling platform, researchers were then able to predict the impacts of various future scenarios on nature’s ability to meet the needs of human populations. They calculated that, regardless of the scenario, nearly five billion humans may no longer have secure access to safe drinking water and food for their survival in 2050. And hundreds of millions of people living in coastal areas will no longer be protected from the weather.


The researchers also noted that people in Africa and South Asia are facing the greatest threats of famine, lack of drinking water and floods as a result of the degradation of nature. especially those in the Ganges Basin, East China and sub-Saharan Africa, populations that, in addition, rely heavily on nature for their survival.


This study helps to guide the actions that must be taken to mitigate the damage, argue the researchers. According to Elena Bennett of the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University, « to solve the problems facing the people of South Asia, you can not just tell them to do better management [of their resources] » .

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« We must also consider the role that we, the inhabitants of North America, play in their problems by buying various products from South Asia, whether food, holidays in their tourist resorts or even exploitation. of Canadian industries. We are generating pollution there rather than here, « says Bennett, who is one of the authors of the study.

In Senegal, women fetch water for miles.





The current quiet solar cycle raises questions about its impact on Earth

Photo du soleil ...5 novembre 2013
Picture of the sun  …november 5 , 2013

The surface of the sun was surprisingly quiet – with fewer spots than at any time in the last century – encouraging curious scientists to wonder exactly what this might mean here on Earth.

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Sunspots were observed for thousands of years – first by Chinese astronomers and then, for the first time with a telescope by Galileo in 1610.

Sunspots appear in cycles of about 11 years – more in a daily avalanche and then decreasing drastically, before amplification again .

But this cycle – nicknamed « the cycle of 24 – has surprised scientists with its slowness .

The number of points scored because it began in December 2008 is well below the average over the last 250 years . In fact , this is less than half .

« This is the weakest solar cycle that was all from the space age , 50 years , » said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association , the physicist Doug Biesecker .

Beau jeu

Young people play football at sunset on the artificial beach located in the Ponta Negra …
The intense electromagnetic energy sunspot has a significant impact on emissions of ultraviolet rays and X rays of the sun as well as solar storms .

Solar storms can disrupt telecommunications and electronic networks Terre.L Activity sunspots can also have an impact on the climate of the Earth.

 Cycle 23 peaked in April 2000 with an average of 120 solar day points. Then the cycle wound down, hit bottom around December 2008, the time for scientists, began the beginning of the current cycle.

The minimum solar activity at the end of cycle 23 has led astronomers to predict a slow 24 cycle. But the reality is even fell below expectations .

In the first year of the cycle, during which solar activity have increased , astronomers have 266 days without a single stain sun.

Dévots hindous de retour après avoir pris un bain sacré dans le ...

Hindu Devotees return after taking a holy dip at Sangam while the sun sets in Allahabad …
« The peak forecast was 90 sunspots, » said Biesecker, noting that even if the activity has increased over the last year, « it is very clear that he will not be close to 90. »

« The number of sunspots peaked last year to 67, almost half of a typical cycle, » he added.

The last time the sunspot cycle was this slow was in February 1906, the peak of cycle 14, with only 64 points per day.

The « long minimum: three years, three times more than the previous three rounds of the Space Age » was a surprise, said University of Montana physicist Andres Munoz-Jamillio.

A magnet switch

Une photo prise depuis un avion montre le soleil levant ...

A photo taken from an airplane shows the sun rising behind the clouds at dawn over the outskirts of Bankok
Cycle 24 also deviated from the standard of another surprising way.
In general, towards the end of each solar cycle of 11 years, the magnetic fields of the sun changes direction . The northern and southern hemispheres change their polarity , often simultaneously.

In exchange, the magnetic field strength drops to near zero and reappears when the polarity is reversed, the scientists explain .

But this time, something different seems to happen . The north pole already reversed polarity, several months ago – and now the same polarity as the south pole .

The most recent satellite measurements ,  » the southern hemisphere should return to the near future , » said Todd Hoeksema , Director of the Solar Observatory Wilcox at Stanford University .

It does not seem concerned about the phenomenon .

But scientists are watching closely to see the sun if the cycle 24 will be an aberration – or if it will calm the next solar cycle stretch through.

« We will not know for another good three or four years , » said Biesecker .

Some researchers believe this could be the beginning of a long period of low solar activity.

The last time it happened, during the so-called  » Maunder Minimum  » between 1650 and 1715 almost no sunspots were observed. During the same period , temperatures plummeted to Earth , causing the so-called  » Little Ice Age  » in Europe and North America.

As the number of sunspots continue to remain low , it is possible the Earth’s climate is affected again .

But thanks to global warming, we are unlikely to see another ice age. « Things did not start to cool , they just do not grow as quickly , » said Biesecker .

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