In March 1972, a team of researchers and policymakers sounded another alarm in The Limits to Growth, one of the first reports to forecast catastrophic consequences if humans kept exploiting Earth’s limited supply of natural resources. The conference in Stockholm followed a few months later, steered to success by its secretary-general, Canadian industrialist Maurice Strong .

Fifty years after that momentous conference, the world remains in crisis. With impending climate and biodiversity crises, the warnings issued by visionaries now hit even closer.

Stockholm+50 promises “clear and concrete recommendations and messages for action at all levels”. More than 90 ministers are expected to attend, but only 10 heads of government. That’s a missed opportunity for high-level action. World leaders are needed because their presence signals that sustainability remains at the top of their agendas.

Ahead of the 1972 conference, 2200 environmental scientists signed a letter – called the Menton Message – to then-UN secretary-general U Thant. The signatories had a sense that the world was moving towards multiple crises.

Researchers can now join a successor to the Menton Message that has been organized by the International Science Council, the global science network Future Earth and the Stockholm Environment Institute. In an open letter addressed to world citizens , they call for change.

Read Nature‘s editorial on 1 June 2022 here .

The letter has been signed by SEI Executive Director Måns Nilsson in his individual capacity as a scientist and as member of the Expert Writing Group for the letter.