Thursday, September 24, 2009

Implications of the Anthropocene

We've been slamming the table on this key point for some time in speeches, conversations, etc. - which is that as the magnitude, scope, and scale of human activity are now so large that we are a driving force in earth systems.

A group of 30 scientists just published a new article in Nature that digs into the planetary boundaries that our activities have crossed or threaten to cross... climate change is just one of 9 identified boundaries (they put the threshold for that one at 350 ppm).

Take 10 minutes to listen to the explanation:

The whole concept is a great step for mainstream science in that it begins to address inter-connectivity at the global scale and define clear boundaries and thresholds that we cannot cross. These kinds of constraints can be effective drivers for creativity and innovation (and not simply limits that imply sacrifice or lower life-quality). It essence it the same concept as sustainability principles, just taken a step further towards details and hard numbers in some of the major groups of material and energy flows. This is similar to the process any organization moving towards sustainability using the framework for SSD would do in terms of grouping activities under each principle and then measuring impacts and implementing solutions to eventually eliminate those impacts (which is in my view the only way to really ensure that we stay below thresholds and within "safe" limits).

Stay going.