More than 15,000 scientists from around the world are warning humans that they are the absolute worst.

The experts signed a “warning to humanity” that calls on people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution, limit population growth, switch to renewable energy, and protect and restore the natural environment before the damage this species is doing to our planet makes it uninhabitable. “To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual,” their letter, published in the journal BioScience, says. “Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.”

According to the writers, change is not an impossible task — the world population quickly reined in ozone-depleting substances, like the kinds that were commonly found in aerosol containers and foam manufacturing, after it was discovered that they were eating away at the atmosphere that protects the planet’s surface from harmful radiation.

“We have also made advancements in reducing extreme poverty and hunger,” the authors say. “Other notable progress … include the rapid decline in fertility rates in many regions attributable to investments in girls’ and women's education, the promising decline in the rate of deforestation in some regions, and the rapid growth in the renewable-energy sector.”

Scientists previously sent out a warning to humanity in 1992, with the same message that human activities were hurting the environment and people must stop damaging the Earth if they want the planet to remain livable. But apparently the world didn’t get that message 25 years ago, and the experts who penned the new warning called it “a second notice,” like what someone would receive when they don’t pay their bills.

earth-globe Scientists are calling on humans to stop destroying our planet Earth. Photo: NASA/JPL

“On the 25th anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning,” the new letter says. “Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.”

The new warning is signed by almost 10 times the number of scientists who put their signatures on the last one.

They call on people to pressure their representatives into action, such as to prevent further contributions to climate change, and don’t shy away from the uncomfortable stuff, like asking for people to stop making so many babies.

“As most political leaders respond to pressure, scientists, media influencers, and lay citizens must insist that their governments take immediate action as a moral imperative to current and future generations of human and other life,” the warning says. “It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita ­consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources.”

The letter writers got so many more signatures on this second notice in part because of the internet. According to the University of Sydney, co-author Thomas Newsome thinks it is the highest ever number of signatories to a scientific paper, and he saw a big response when he shared the warning on Twitter.

“It’s an overwhelming response we didn’t quite expect,” Newsome said in the statement. “People just started sharing the letter; it was added to a few email lists and things just took off from there.”