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A safe operating space for humanity

Johan Rockstr m 1. 2. Will Steffen 1. 3. Kevin Noone 1. 4. sa Persson 1. 2. F. Stuart Chapin, III 5. Eric F. Lambin 6. Timothy M. Lenton 7. Marten Scheffer 8. Carl Folke 1. 9. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber 10. 11. Bj rn Nykvist 1. 2. Cynthia A. de Wit 4. Terry Hughes 12. Sander van der Leeuw 13. Henning Rodhe 14. Sverker S rlin 1. 15. Peter K. Snyder 16. Robert Costanza 1. 17. Uno Svedin 1. Malin Falkenmark 1. 18. Louise Karlberg 1. 2. Robert W. Corell 19. Victoria J. Fabry 20. James Hansen 21. Brian Walker 1. 22. Diana Liverman 23. 24. Katherine Richardson 25. Paul Crutzen 26 Jonathan A. Foley 27

Abstract

Identifying and quantifying planetary boundaries that must not be transgressed could help prevent human activities from causing unacceptable environmental change, argue Johan Rockstr m and colleagues.

  • New approach proposed for defining preconditions for human development
  • Crossing certain biophysical thresholds could have disastrous consequences for humanity
  • Three of nine interlinked planetary boundaries have already been overstepped

Although Earth has undergone many periods of significant environmental change, the planet’s environment has been unusually stable for the past 10,000 years 1, 2, 3. This period of stability known to geologists as the Holocene has seen human civilizations arise, develop and thrive.

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