Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Planetary Boundaries: How out of whack are we?

by Darcy Hitchcock

A group of scientists examined human flows from nature and identified 9 planetary boundaries. In the image below, the green zone is a safe level for humanity. The red represents our current performance. In some cases, we are far from a critical point and in others we are waaaaay over the line. With all the talk about climate change, you might be interested it's not the worst (although it is contributing to it.) This framework helps us to identify priorities for action.

Courtesy of the Stockholm Resilience Center

Here is a TedTalk about this framework:

For those of you interested in The Natural Step, you can see how these map to the four principles or 'system conditions.' Climate change is mostly System Condition 1 (from the earth's crust). Chemical pollution and ozone depletion is System Condition 2 (human made substances). Biodiversity loss is largely a System Condition 3 issue (undermining nature's productivity).

Link to original scientific article about the planetary boundaries.

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