Thursday, 15 October 2009

Nature's Planetary Boundaries

A fantastic Nature page on Global Boundaries. The only missing item is the human society and global economics...

This Nature publication is a great overview of the boundaries that humanity should not cross, if it wants to ensure its survival. However, you can really not do this well, unless you deal with the nature of human society itself. You cannot treat the global society as being separate from the earth-systems. Albeit there certainly are plenty of special human phenomena that are so distant from the environmental issues that no linkage makes any sense (the financial crisis that we just have experienced is one of these), the relationship between the two is not unidirectional.

Economic inequality can create migration, for instance. Migration tends to create environmental pressures. These often manifest in chopping down forests, burning the wood, releasing the carbon from the peatsoil into the atmosphere, the collapse of local ecosystems. These in turn tend to worsen the economic conditions, especially in a development setting, generating more migration. -- In this example, where is the boundary? There is none, for the social and environmental dynamics are interconnected.

The need for a common approach is trivial. It seems, though, it is not happening fast enough.

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