We are currently in a new era, Anthropocene, where the human being is the driving factor for planetary change. Never before has ONE species had such a great impact on the planet.
Our population has grown from 1,6 billion year 1900 to 3 billion in 1950 to the 7,3 billion we have today. It wasn’t until the middle of the 1950s, a period known as the “great acceleration” that our actions started to result in serious consequenses. So for the last 50 years the high tempo of our industries and agriculture has become a threat to our world. If you compare Earths lifetime to a clock the modern human entered at 23.59.56.
Our ability to secure a longterm sustainable development is threatened by four pressures on the planet, “the quadrouple squeeze”.
- Human Growth: most of the environmental issues we face have been caused by around 20 % of the worlds population – but the remaining 80% also have the right to develop.
- Climate Change: the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is approaching 450ppm (the highest in at least 800 000 years) in a tempo which suggests that we are heading for 560ppm (a doubling since preindustrial times) at full speed. At the same time we need to get down to around 350ppm to preserve the planet in the stable condition that humans have had so far.
- Ecosystem Loss: we are eroding the planets resilience at an incredible speed and have already weakened around 60% of all the ecosystems that we are dependent upon to live on this Earth.
- Surprise: the safe operation space for our development is shrinking. We face abrupt changes if thresholds in our ecosystems are exceeded.
To be able to live sustainably on our planet we need to keep inside the planetary boundaries and right now all the curves are going in the wrong diection. Therefore it is so important to take some time to stop and reflect instead of just continuing as usual, like the lifestyle we have doesn’t contribute to climate change, to ecosystems getting destroyed, to people and animals getting treated horribly around the globe. Our whole world is collapsing around us and we need to wake up and take action. Like Leonardo DiCaprio said in his documentary Before the flood:
We can’t pretend that we know how this is going to end. The only thing we can do is control what we do next. How we live our lives, what we consume, how we get involved and how we use our vote.
To find our how you can start looking at what you could change in different areas of your life you can start with checking out the WHAT is Low Impact Life?
The information is from Johan Rockström and Mattias Klums book Big World Small Planet and WWF Living Planet Report 2016.