Planetary Boundaries: defining the safe operating space for humanity

Planetary_boundaries.svgEarlier this year I posted a blog about planetary boundaries – the framework that scientists have drawn to define the “safe operating space for humanity”. More recently I read  a great article, Planetary Boundaries: A Framework for Staying Cool, Calm and Connected, on this in the Shift Magazine. Its give a good run down of the 9 categories that have been identified and is well worth a read for anyone working to create a sustainable future for humanity. Below is an excerpt from the article. You can read the full article on the Shift Magazine website.

“There’s a time and a place for thinking outside the box, as they say. However, when it comes to sustainability, the finite nature of planet earth ought to strictly limit our thinking and subsequent actions to stay within certain boundaries.

If you didn’t pay too much attention in school, especially in science and geography classes, you may find some of the discourse on sustainability flying straight over the top of your head. Even if you do fancy yourself as bit of a nerd, the bullshit, selective filtering, furphy-throwing and the politico-economic agenda of much of the media can confuse and dumb down even the hardiest students of life. The ‘planetary boundaries framework’, a joint initiative between the University of Copenhagen and the Australian National University, provides a solid home base to return to when your bullshit meter is redlining off the dial.

The framework has identified 9 ‘planetary boundaries’ that define the ‘safe operating space for humanity’. The complex systems that make Earth so comfy – for both us and all that other stuff with DNA – have been self-regulating in a very stable manner for the last 10,000 years or so. That is why when you wake up in the morning you pretty well know that even in the middle of summer you aren’t likely to just spontaneously burst into flames, and similarly in the middle of winter your blood won’t snap freeze like the peas in the frozen food section of the local supermarket. Some recent weather events, though, should be scaring the pants off even the most fervent growth-at-all-costs addicts.

The overview of the nine boundaries below is designed, at the least, to save you from bamboozlement, and, at best, to help you to liquidate the know-it-alls who want to keep trashing our one and only home, aka Earth.” Read full article here.

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