Planetary boundaries research
In 2009, a group of 28 internationally renowned scientists identified and quantified a set of nine planetary boundaries within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come. Crossing these boundaries could generate abrupt or irreversible environmental changes. Respecting the boundaries reduces the risks to human society of crossing these thresholds.
The nine planetary boundaries
- Acid oceans
- Ozone depletion
- Fresh water
- Nitrogen and phosphorus cycles
- Land use
- Climate change
- Aerosol loading
- Chemical pollution
Johan Rockstrom: Let the environment guide our development
Human growth has strained the Earth’s resources, but as Johan Rockstrom reminds us, our advances also give us the science to recognize this and change behavior. His research has found nine “planetary boundaries” that can guide us in protecting our planet’s many overlapping ecosystems.
If Earth is a self-regulating system, it’s clear that human activity is capable of disrupting it. Johan Rockstrom has led a team of scientists to define the nine Earth systems that need to be kept within bounds for Earth to keep itself in balance.