It is not surprising, in an age when there is more interest in celebrity gossip and political point-scoring than fundamental issues to do with the survival of all our species, that the report is hidden in the back pages of most of the main news websites today. Two years in the making, it should be the leading story everywhere.
It speaks of the need to eliminate food waste, to slash fossil fuel burning, to reduce the use of material resources and to lift the poorest out of poverty; it has to be done voluntarily or “pressures on a finite planet will in the end make us”; and, remarkably, it speaks of the need to revolutionise attitudes to GDP to include, for example, the value of bees, for “the environment is the economy to some extent” (Professor Jules Pretty).
It was a wonderful start to my day to hear about these findings, which will be considered at the Rio+20 summit in June. The sobering thought is that, in fact, these findings are not new: we have, all of us, known about the imbalances between rich and poor, the need to stop the population explosion and planetary exploitation and to recognise the importance of the environment for our survival, but these uncomfortable truths have been ignored. It is not yet too late to change, for if we do not, as the report reminds us, the planet will make us – and we may well not like it.
More information about the report by the Royal Society can be found here.