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Time to act to prevent worsening global environmental deterioration, say experts

Saving the environment requires more action in the form of a “social avalanche”, a group of world experts has demanded.

A world-leading expert in sustainable development at the University of St Andrews has called for a re-evaluation of values in society to prevent environmental problems such as global warming worsening further.

Dr Ioan Fazey, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Development in the School of Geography and Geoscience at the University took part in a new international study.

The research paper indicates it is time to act on the existing knowledge rather than attempt to describe the process of environmental deterioration ever more precisely.

Dr Fazey said, “We now have enough knowledge that clearly tells us that the world as we know it is likely to change dramatically in the lifetime of many of the people alive today. We also know a lot about how we need to change. Action clearly needs to occur based on good research, but it is now time for implementing serious action about what we already know rather than continuously discussing the details.”

Major assessments have shown that global environmental deterioration is getting worse, not better.

The authors of the review are an unusual alliance of scholars from a wide range of academic disciplines, including sociology, ecology, public policy and philosophy from the UK, Germany, the USA and Australia.

Global sustainability, according to the study, demands far-reaching changes in human behaviour, including a re-evaluation of the core values that underpin our growth and consumption based society.

Dr Fazey added, “Put bluntly, we know what needs to happen to work toward a more sustainable future: we know that a social avalanche is needed. The challenge now is to get it started.”

The study has been published today in the journal Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment. (2012; doi:10.1890/110079)

ENDS

Note to Editors

Dr Fazey is available on 01334 463937 / 0797 1813947.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews. Contact 01334 462530 or email proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.
Ref: (ref 28/02/12)
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