“… a voluntary alliance of leading scientists and institutions dealing with planetary processes and sustainability issues…”
The recruiting paper for the Earth League begins:
Humankind has become a quasi-geological force on Planet Earth. Our species is the most successful ever, still growing in numbers and absorbing more and more natural resources for its industrial metabolism, which is largely based on fossil fuels and other dwindling stocks. As a consequence, societies around the world are currently witnessing severe crises that call for a “Great Transformation” toward sustainability. Climate change might be understood as just one manifestation of the emerging complex problem or as a driver. Many other challenges such as the distortion of ecosystem services, the loss of biodiversity, the degradation of land, sprawling urbanization, worsening water scarcity, the disturbances in terrestrial and marine food chains or the ubiquitous pollution of all environmental systems have to be taken into consideration.
At the same time, the gains of the human enterprise are distributed quite unevenly: abject poverty, lack of education, insufficient access to health services and other social disparities persist worldwide in spite of dramatic economic growth in many countries. Securing a life in dignity for all people alive while maintaining the essential ecosystems for future generations presently looks like squaring the circle. The UN has recognised this unprecedented challenge and therefore is about to set well-chosen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that complement and transcend the conventional Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Science will have to play an unprecedented role in this enterprise if that circle is to be squared.