Contextual Changes In Earth History: From The Holocene To The Anthropocene: Implications For The Goal Of Sustainable Development And For Strategies Of Sustainable Transition


Human activities have changed many of the key parameters of the Holocene geological epoch of the recent past so much that we now live in the Anthropocene. New perspectives in earth system science suggest that sustainable development and plans for transitions to a sustainable peace now have to consider the possibilities of rapid phase shifts in the biosphere. Constraining human activities to within a safe operating space defined by key ecological boundaries in the earth system is key to sustainability but planning has to recognize that rapid shifts may be coming. The implications of this suggest that sustainability planning has to think beyond notions of national security and recognize that human actions are shaping the future configuration of the planet and hence changing the geopolitical context. Adopting a perspective of geopolitical ecology with a focus on global economic production rather than only on traditional ideas of environmental protection is key to the future if planetary stewardship of the Anthropocene is to be successful.

In book: Handbook on Sustainability Transition and Sustainable Peace, pp.67-88