Protecting the planet also protects the people

 “Our idea of safe and just boundaries calls for tackling the underlying causes of environmental degradation and poverty. The better we care for our Earth, the better we care for one another.”

In Joyeeta Gupta’s last popular article as Earth Commission’s co-chair, she writes in Scientific American about the Earth Commission’s transdisciplinary work to establish safe and just boundaries for planet and people.

“We began with five domains that cover the major components of Earth’s interconnected systems: climate, biosphere, water cycle, aerosols and nutrient cycles (nitrogen and phosphorus). In each case, rather than setting a single threshold, we set two: a limit that was “safe” for Earth overall and a “safe and just” limit that would do “no significant harm” to people worldwide.” 

She also explained the challenges of evaluating what ‘just’ boundaries are, how transdisciplinary scientists have overcome these barriers, how they defined the specific Earth system boundaries and why. 

“To set our boundaries, we considered tipping points in Earth’s systems, relations between humans and other living things (which we call interspecies justice), harm to current and future generations (intergenerational justice), and effects on countries and communities—what might be called intragenerational justice.”

In the long form Scientific American article, Prof. Gupta outlines why reducing excess consumption of resources is so urgent, and the kinds of transformations nations and markets need to undergo. 

Read the full article here.

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