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Seminar 9

“Future of Planet Earth” Participant Statement

Paris, France | June 3–5, 2008

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Alfred Oteng-Yeboah

What are the three most critical challenges facing Planet Earth going forward?

The three most critical challenges are climate change; ecosystem change and biodiversity loss; and biofuels. It is possible to reverse these trends if adequate communication strategies are employed to engage the public for action.

1. Climate change
Climate change is having an affect on water bodies, soils, and vegetation and turning many productive systems upside down. For example, many coral reefs are getting bleached and dying and upsetting the ecological balance and interactions between juvenile fish and the habitat.

2. Ecosystem change and biodiversity loss
Several factors including unsustainable resource harvesting have created a change in the world’s ecosystem structure. Invasive species acting as opportunistic and aggressive species and in habitat-loss situations have increased the rate of loss of biodiversity.

Mankind’s continued habit of enjoying certain luxuries in dietary consumption and the use of other rare biological products derived from the environment is also becoming unbearable. We are systematically depleting fish stocks and other biodiversity, depriving the next generation of any fishery and genetic resources.

3. Biofuels
There is nothing wrong with the search for alternative fuel sources. However, there is a lot of things wrong when the production and procurement of the alternative creates a situation where people are deprived of food because it is used for biofuel and the land for providing biodiversity benefits including ecosystem services and goods are occupied with biofuel crops.