Back in 1992, 1,700 scientists gathered from across the globe to send a strong message to the public. They wrote that human beings were on a "collision course" with the natural world, and we needed to make major changes to get back on track. They predicted catastrophes like mass air and water pollution, large-scale deforestation, ozone layer degradation, and fishery collapse, calling on developed nations to quell them through policy change and increased individual action.
"Acting on this recognition is not altruism but enlightened self-interest: Whether industrialized or not, we all have but one lifeboat," they warned.
Looking back on this letter to humanity, what's most haunting is how little we listened and how most of it rang true. Though we've stepped up to the plate when it comes to protecting the ozone layer, the other climate emergencies they foresaw continue to worsen.