Dr. Maurakis’s presentation sounded the alarm on a few very sobering statistics: Nearly 1 in 4 lives in extreme poverty; 20 million die of malnutrition; almost 13% cannot get enough food to grow and function properly.  In conducting research for the class, I came across one more heart-wrenching statistic.  In July 2011, the U. N. declared the on-going famine in Somalia was the worst in 20 years with a reported 10,000 dying of hunger per day.  

     At the center of all the statistics is one key fact that many seem to be ignorant of (or simply choose to ignore) – the human species is one thread in the fabric of life.  A point very well highlighted by Dr. Maurakis in his presentation.  Many of the challenges we face today is because humans operate with the mindset that we are supreme and unique beings in the fabric of life. 

     If we were to function under the assumption that we (mankind) are an integral part of the planet and that our behavior has an impact on the planet’s good health, then we might just make some progress (Boorse & Wright 4).  The relationship between mankind/earth is symbiotic.  Change in one triggers a change in the other.  Also, the health of one mirrors the health of the other.  Think of our planet as a very important patient.  Several organizations are involved in diagnosing the patient’s vital signs and what needs to be done to maintain the patient’s health.  Here are four global trends that are particularly unhealthy: (1) increasing population growth, (2) a decline of vital ecosystems, (3) the negative impact of global climate change, and (4) loss of biodiversity. 

     Simply telling people about the scientific facts does not create awareness or action (Ehrlic 4).  One of the ways being discussed to bring about change involves creating a network of scientists, which would include biologists, natural scientists, ecologists and social psychologists; all working together.  Social scientists for example can help figure out how to get people not just to understand, but how to take some action in response to their better understanding.  There is much work to be done in order to bring about change.  With each of us  making a real commitment, it can be done. 

Works Cited:

Boorse, D. F., Wright, R. T. (2011).  Environmental Science: toward a sustainable future.  San Francisco, CA:  Pearsons Education, Inc.

 Ehrlich, P.R. (2011). Seeking Environmental Solutions in Social Sciences.  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , 67(5) 1-8.